True North Initiative: News Scan 08 09 17


How smugglers and scammers target refugees desperate to get to Canada

Canada’s natural defences—oceans to the east and west, a frozen expanse to the north and a neighbour to the south that boasts some of the strictest border controls in the world—protect it from the kind of illegal immigration European nations have experienced. Consequently, Canada has become the “crown jewel” of smuggling destinations, according to the researchers. In an increasingly competitive environment, “smugglers who can get a refugee to Canada consider it a major accomplishment,” says Mehrdad Pourzakikhani, a researcher at Samuel Hall, the independent think tank that was hired to conduct the IOM study. “The demand for Canada is growing.” In a world that has largely turned its back on millions of refugees, he adds, a new generation of smugglers and con artists is emerging. And Canada is fast becoming their cash cow. (Macleans)

Members of Haitian government in Montreal to 'support' asylum seekers

The Haitian government has sent two representatives to Montreal in light of the influx of Haitian asylum seekers crossing illegally into Quebec from the U.S. Foreign Affairs Minister Antonio Rodrigue and Stéphanie Auguste, minister for nationals living abroad, touched down in Montreal Tuesday afternoon. Immigration Canada says the number of asylum seekers, most of them Haitian, crossing illegally near the Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que., border crossing has quadrupled in the past two weeks from about 50 a day to 200 a day. (CBC)

Haitian government thanks Montreal for helping asylum seekers

Members of Haiti's government are in Montreal to offer thanks as their country continues to recover from environmental disasters. Two Haitian ministers arrived in Montreal Tuesday to meet with Mayor Denis Coderre. They wanted to thank the Montreal, Quebec and Canadian governments for accepting migrants---but they're also looking for a solution to the growing number of asylum seekers coming to Canada. (CTV)

Why women are coming to Canada just to give birth

Three years ago, Melody* stepped off a plane from Beijing in Vancouver and breezed through customs. “The official didn’t ask [if I was pregnant] so I didn’t tell,” she says through a translator. At 32 years-old, she was four months pregnant with her son David. Her husband waiting at home, Melody had entered B.C. on a visitors’ visa, intending to stay for months, for the sole purpose of having a baby on Canadian soil — thereby guaranteeing that baby citizenship. “Canada has a good environment, compared to the air pollution in China,” she says. “There is more choice for my child’s future learning and employment. And if my kid can get a Canadian passport there is an opportunity to come to Canada in the future.” (Macleans)

Prosecutors: Man Accused of Flint Airport Attack Celebrated 9/11 Attacks

A Tunisian-born man who lives in Canada and stabbed a police officer at a Michigan airport subscribes to Osama Bin Laden's ideology and celebrated the 9/11 attacks, federal prosecutors said in a court filing. In an interview after his June arrest in Flint, Amor Ftouhi also told federal agents that he praised Bin Laden for organizing the 2001 attacks on the United States which he "considers an enemy of Allah," according to the documents. (WKAR)

Paris attack: Hunt for car driven at soldiers, injuring six

A car has struck a group of soldiers in Paris, injuring six, two seriously, police say. An urgent police operation is now under way to find the vehicle - reportedly a BMW - and driver involved in the incident in the north-western suburb of Levallois-Perret. The local mayor, Patrick Balkany, said he had no doubt that the "disgusting" act was deliberate. (BBC) (Telegraph)

North Korea releases Canadian pastor serving life sentence

North Korea says it has released a Canadian pastor who has been serving a life sentence since 2015 for anti-state activities over health reasons. Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said on its website Wednesday that Hyeon Soo Lim was released on “sick bail” following a decision by the country’s Central Court. The news was announced after a delegation from the Canadian government went to Pyongyang to discuss Lim’s case. (Toronto Sun)

North Korea vows nuclear war in US following President Trump's threat of 'fire and fury'

North Korea has threatened to launch preemptive military strikes against the United States, including targeting the US Pacific island territory of Guam, the latest salvo in an increasingly aggressive back-and-forth between Pyongyang and Washington. A statement issued by state-run media KCNA Wednesday ratcheted up the tension by saying that North Korea would "turn the US mainland into the theater of a nuclear war" if it were to uncover any sign of an impending US attack. (CNN)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Are Haitians coming from the U.S. migrants or refugees?

If the past is any indication, roughly half of the Haitian asylum claimants who have arrived in Quebec over the last few weeks will be rejected, and eventually sent back to Haiti or the U.S. But acceptance rates over the last few years also suggest that half will be recognized as refugees, a sign that they are not all just economic migrants, says lawyer Eric Taillefer. (Montreal Gazette)

Asylum seekers find themselves vulnerable on many fronts

It’s true that it can be a challenge to take care of people who go to any country asking for help — especially if they arrive illegally, and en masse. But what’s not often discussed, is just how vulnerable asylum seekers can be, like the hundreds of Haitians who have been crossing illegally into Canada over the last few weeks, for fear of being deported. (Global)

Haitians flee over US border into Canada over WhatsApp hoax

Thousands of Haitians have fled from the United States to Canada under the threat of deportation under Donald Trump, some because of WhatsApp messages falsely saying the country would welcome them. Around 58,000 Haitians are living in the US under temporary protection status (TPS) since the Caribbean island was ravaged by an earthquake in 2010. (Independent)

Border-crossers being misled about 'easy' asylum in Canada, advocates say

Community advocates say they’re concerned about misinformation spreading among the Haitian refugees flocking from the U.S. to Montreal, where many have been falsely led to believe that finding asylum will be “easy.” Hundreds of these refugees have already taken up temporary residence in and around the city’s Olympic Stadium, while they await processing as refugee claimants from Haiti and, more recently, Donald Trump’s United States. But members of Montreal’s existing Haitian community say the new arrivals are chasing false hope fuelled by incorrect information on social media. (CTV)

Talk of climate change may be off the books in NAFTA negotiations

A frank report on climate change in America leaked to the New York Times a week before the U.S. sits down to begin renegotiating NAFTA may give some weight to Canada’s push to get climate change mitigation included as part of the new continental trade deal. But that, of course, would require U.S. President Donald Trump to buy into even some of what the report says, which, in short, is that climate change is real, caused by people and that some extreme weather events can now be attributed to the warming planet. (Global)

Freeland says officials urgently reviewing reports Canadian arms used in Saudi crackdown

Canadian officials are working "with a real sense of urgency" to investigate new reports that Saudi security forces are using Canadian-made military vehicles in a violent crackdown in the Shia-populated city of Awamiyah, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday. Video posted online over the weekend appears to show at least one Canadian-made Terradyne Gurkha armoured personnel carrier (APC) operated by the Sunni kingdom's elite Special Security Forces driving through a devastated neighbourhood. (CBC)

New video purports to show Canadian-made LAVs being used in Saudi crackdown

New video footage obtained by Radio Canada International appears to show for the first time Canadian-made light armoured vehicles being deployed by Saudi security forces in an operation against militants in the Shia-populated eastern part of the kingdom. The nine-second video is putting additional pressure on the Liberal government to cancel a multi-billion contract to supply the Saudi Arabia's royal family with newer and more lethal models of these same vehicles. (CBC)

Lockheed Martin offers F-35 to Canada as 'interim' fighter jet

Lockheed Martin has offered the Liberal government the F-35 as an “interim” fighter aircraft, a move sure to turn up the heat on rival U.S. aerospace firm Boeing still embroiled in a trade dispute with Canada. Last year, the Liberals announced a proposal to buy 18 interim fighter jets from Boeing to deal with a capability gap facing the Royal Canadian Air Force. But that multibillion dollar plan to acquire Super Hornet jets has been thrown into limbo after Boeing filed a trade complaint in the U.S. against Bombardier of Quebec. (National Post)

Canadian aid helping, but global funding gap persists in Jordan: Unicef

The head of Unicef’s operations in Jordan says Canadian taxpayer dollars are making an important difference for refugee children displaced by the Syrian war, but a massive international funding gap is pushing the region to its limit as it deals with the seven-year-old crisis. Robert Jenkins, a Canadian who works as the United Nations Children’s Fund representative in Jordan, was in Ottawa on Tuesday to brief government officials on the status of the organization’s Canadian-funded projects in the Middle Eastern country. While he applauded Canada for its support, which has helped improve access to education, water and protection for Syrian refugee children in Jordan, he said neighbouring countries are still overwhelmed by the scale of the crisis. (Globe and Mail)

A U.S. back road is the route to hope in Canada for many migrants

They have come from all over the United States, piling out of taxis, pushing strollers and pulling luggage, to the end of a country road in the north woods. Where the pavement stops, they pick up small children and lead older ones wearing Mickey Mouse backpacks around a “road closed” sign, threading bushes, crossing a ditch, and filing past another sign in French and English that says “No pedestrians.” Then they are arrested. Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, migrants who came to the U.S. from across the globe — Syria, Congo, Haiti, elsewhere — arrive here where Roxham Road dead-ends so they can walk into Canada, hoping its policies will give them the security they believe the political climate in the United States does not. (Omaha World Herald)

Illegal immigration spikes in the US in July; still lower than Obama years

Illegal immigration across the southwest border surged 15 percent in July compared to the month before, Homeland Security announced Tuesday, signaling that President Trump’s early success in stemming the flow of people jumping the border has begun to lessen. The border patrol nabbed 13 percent more illegal immigrants last month than in June, while officers at the ports of entry saw a 23 percent spike in the number of inadmissible aliens showing up and demanding entry. The number of Border Patrol arrests is deemed a yardstick for the overall flow of people. (Washington Times)

Christians Rescued After Suffering Through ISIS Rule in Raqqa

Christian fighters in the multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian Syrian Democratic Forces reported rescuing several Christians from Raqqa, the Syrian city that ISIS claimed as its capital three and a half years ago. The SDF says 55 percent of the city is now under their control in the Wrath of Euphrates operation, a long drive to retake Raqqa that began in November. The Syriac Military Council (MFS), which consists of Syriac Christian men and women fighting ISIS under the SDF umbrella, said last month that it was working to safely extract the remaining Christian families in Raqqa. (PJ Media)

North Korea 'considering missile strike on US Guam base'

North Korea has said it is considering carrying out missile strikes on the US Pacific territory of Guam. The North's official news agency said it was considering a plan to fire medium-to-long-range rockets at Guam, where US strategic bombers are based. (BBC)

South Dakota Airmen arrive ready to 'Fight Tonight' from Guam

Two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers, under the command of U.S. Pacific Air Forces, joined their counterparts from the Republic of Korea and Japanese air forces in sequenced bilateral missions, August 7. This serves as the first mission for the crews and aircraft recently deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence missions. (Pacific Air Forces)

China urges calm over North Korea

China urged calm on Wednesday after North Korea said it was considering plans for a missile strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam and President Donald Trump told the North that any threat to the United States would be met with "fire and fury". China calls on all parties to avoid any words or actions that might escalate the situation and make even greater efforts to resolve the issue via talks, the ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters. (Reuters)



Anthony Furey: Until Trudeau acts on border crisis, Canada is basically one giant sanctuary city

What’ll it take for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to unequivocally state that it’s against the law to illegally enter Canada and that he flat out doesn’t want anyone doing it? That’s what needs to be done to stem the flood of illegal migrants crossing into Canada daily from the United States. It’s his problem. He started it. He’s uniquely positioned to solve it. (Toronto Sun)

Ezra Levant: Illegal “refugees” to Canada are creating “a nation divided” (Guest host: Jerry Agar)

More and more people are coming in to Canada illegally, and the worst part is that too many elected officials are ignoring the law, in favour of so-called politically correct notions about saving the world. We can’t save the world, and the law matters. It applies to me, it applies to you, and it applies to those who are coming here in defiance of the law. The Rebel's own Candice Malcolm has been following this file for months, and joins me tonight with her observations. (Rebel)

Geoffrey Johnston: U.S. needs bipartisan foreign policy

Like his predecessors, U.S. President Barack Obama proved incapable of persuading or compelling North Korea to scrap its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. As a former first lady, Hillary Clinton already possessed extensive knowledge of the North Korean file when she became Obama's trusted secretary of state. "In 1994, the Clinton Administration negotiated an agreement with North Korea in which it pledged to halt operation and construction of facilities widely suspected of being part of a secret nuclear weapons program in exchange for assistance in building two smaller nuclear reactors that would produce energy, not weapons-grade plutonium," Hillary Clinton writes in her 2014 memoir Hard Choices. (Whig)

Tarek Fatah: Why I won’t celebrate India’s independence

Aug. 15 will mark India’s 70th anniversary as a free country. That was the day in 1947 when it emerged from its long, dark, winter of almost 1,000 years of foreign rule. The first invasion of India, with the intent of permanent occupation and destruction of its Hindu ethos, was made by the Arabs in AD 710. After that came Afghan, Turkic and Central Asian barbarians who committed untold horrors on a largely civilized and peaceful people. (Toronto Sun)

Susan Delacourt: Suddenly, everyone wants to be Canadian

Requests to enter Canada — by both would-be immigrants and refugees — are on the upswing. Parks Canada is reporting an increase of nearly 10 per cent in traffic through national parks, thanks to the free passes in honour of the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Tourists are flocking here, some of them gun-toting Americans (no … seriously). (IPolitics)

Victor Laszlo: Philippines: ISIS supporters join battle for Marawi

Muslims claiming Islamic-State affiliation wage war for conquest of the Philippine city of Marawi ,where hundreds of Middle Eastern trained and Saudi trained snipers and bomb makers have already shot over 100 Philippine soldiers. (Rebel)



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