True North Initiative: News Scan 08 24 17


Trudeau plays down concerns of 'uncontrolled immigration'

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians can continue to have confidence in the country’s immigration system, and defended his government’s response to the surge of asylum seekers who have avoided regular border crossings to enter Canada from the United States this summer. “I can understand the concerns that Canadians have about whether this is a shortcut, whether somehow this is uncontrolled immigration,” the Prime Minister said on Wednesday. (Globe and Mail) (Montreal Gazette) (Reuters)

Canada is not a safe haven for asylum seekers, Trudeau warns

Canada is no automatic safe haven for those seeking quick entry into the country or fleeing the threat of imminent deportation from the United States, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. After a meeting of federal and provincial ministers charged with managing the recent influx of asylum seekers in Montreal, Trudeau told reporters that security and immigration officials are getting a handle on the thousands of mainly Haitian refugee claimants who have streamed into the country from the United States since July. (Metro) (Huff Post) (CBC)

Trudeau government fearful a massive refugee surge could hurt 2019 re-election campaign

Canada fears a huge surge in asylum seekers crossing the border from the United States, putting political pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ahead of a 2019 election, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. The number of migrants illegally entering Canada more than tripled in July and August, hitting nearly 7,000. Haitians, who face looming deportation from the United States when their temporary protected status expires in January 2018, accounted for much of the inflow. (Global)

Asylum seekers get health-care benefits first, eligibility questions later

Asylum seekers arriving illegally in Quebec are getting access to health-care services before the government knows whether they’re eligible to make a refugee claim, due to a backlog of cases, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. (Global)

Canada government giving migrants 'false hope'

A Canadian opposition MP has accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of "giving false hope to people crossing the border" MP Michelle Rempel said on Wednesday that a refugee-friendly message is misleading asylum seekers about how welcoming the country is to claimants. More than 11,300 people have illegally entered Canada from the US this year. (BBC)

‘Will Canada send people back?’: Fate uncertain for asylum seekers arriving at tent city

“Canada won’t give everyone permission to stay here?” asked Marie, surprised. “Will Canada send people back to Haiti?” The same questions, or similar, are being asked by thousands of other asylum seekers who have fled across the border into Canada from the United States in recent weeks. In Cornwall, Ont., where a rapidly built tent city is ready to house 500 people, many of the roughly 300 asylum seekers staying at the NAV Centre say the same thing: U.S. President Donald Trump may not want them anymore, but Canada surely does. Canada is welcoming, friendly, a good home. (National Post)

Teachers call for Pickering's Sir John A. Macdonald school to be renamed, saying Canada's first PM committed 'genocide'

The name of Sir John. A. Macdonald P.S. in Pickering could soon be up for debate. The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has approved a motion calling on school boards across the province to rename schools bearing the name of Canada’s first prime minister. (Durham Region) (CBC)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

Federal Tories want border guards to have power to send border jumpers back to U.S.

The federal Conservatives are calling on Ottawa to allow border guards to send asylum-seekers back to the United States as hundreds cross on foot into Manitoba. But a prominent refugee advocate says that simply isn’t possible under international law. "Our system now is in shambles," Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel told reporters Wednesday. "We have been talking and asking the government for months to deal with this situation, and we have heard no action." (Winnipeg Free Press)

NDP MP Jenny Kwan criticizes Liberals for not touting advantage of 'irregular' asylum crossings

The Liberal government is misleading people when it says there’s no advantage to crossing illegally into Canada to seek asylum, NDP MP Jenny Kwan says. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made those comments over the weekend as the Liberals have become more assertive in their efforts to tamp down the volume of asylum seekers. Nearly 7,000 have arrived in the last six weeks, mostly via Quebec. (Toronto Sun)

Canada won’t join U.S. missile defence, send troops to Afghanistan, Trudeau says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has thrown cold water on suggestions the Liberal government wants to sign onto continental ballistic missile defence, or that it might send troops back into Afghanistan. The question over whether Canada should be part of the U.S.’s continental missile-defence shield has been rekindled in recent days amid concerns about North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal. (Toronto Star)

'Open your eyes' to far-right threat, Quebec City mayor says

Quebec's political leaders need to "open their eyes" to the rise of far-right groups in the province, Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume said Wednesday. ​Labeaume's city was the site Sunday of a highly organized rally by the far-right group La Meute. It was met by a counter-demonstration that turned violent.) (CBC)

Venezuelan refugees happy to be safe in Manitoba town, but worried for family back home

A family from Venezuela now living in a Manitoba town is happy to have received refugee status in Canada, but is worried for other relatives still back home. And a Winnipeg immigration lawyer says Manitoba may see more refugees from the South American country, which is now plagued by violence and political unrest. CBC is not revealing the names of the refugee family, because they fear retribution from the Venezuelan government against relatives still living in Venezuela. (Yahoo)

Average Canadians pay 42.5 per cent of their income in taxes: report

Canadians pay a whopping 42.5 per cent of their income in taxes, according to a new report by the Fraser Institute. An average family with an income of about $83,000 paid roughly $35,000 in taxes last year, the Vancouver, B.C.-based think-tank calculated. That overall tax bill accounts for federal, provincial and local taxes, including income, payroll, sales and property taxes. (Global)

Meet the Sikh politician who might ‘out-Trudeau Justin Trudeau’

Canada’s latest political phenomenon is just 38. He’s a dapper lawyer who wears bespoke three-piece suits, rides his bike to work and has been featured in GQ. He also sports a long beard and wears pastel-colored turbans and a kirpan, a ceremonial dagger, both integral elements of the Sikh religion. (Washington Post)

Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan seen moving to cabinet to replace Judy Foote

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to name Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan to the federal cabinet as early as Thursday to fill the post that was left vacant when Newfoundland’s Judy Foote took an indefinite leave of absence as minister of public works in April. Ms. Foote is expected to officially announce Thursday that she will be giving up her cabinet seat because of family and health issues, a Liberal Party source said. (Globe and Mail)

NDP leadership contender distances herself from Holocaust-denying supporter

Federal MP and NDP leadership candidate Niki Ashton was on the defensive Tuesday night after an endorsement she received by an alleged Holocaust denier came to light. “It has come to my attention that our campaign was shown support by a member of the public on Facebook known to hold anti-Semitic views and has made public comments denying the atrocities of the Holocaust,” Ashton’s message, posted to social media, began. “In no way do I support such views. I do not accept support from people who hold such views.” (Calgary Sun)

Charlottesville violence: White supremacist Cantwell hands himself in

A white supremacist wanted by police over his role in violent clashes at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, has handed himself in. Christopher Cantwell, from New Hampshire, faces charges of illegal tear gas use and malicious bodily injury. (BBC)

The new face of Islamic State terror is a 10-year-old American boy

A new face of the Islamic State is a 10-year-old American boy the terror army claims came to Syria two years ago with his mother from the United States. In a new ISIL propaganda video, the boy is identified as an American citizen named “Yusuf” and says he is the son of a U.S. service member who deployed to Iraq. “This battle is not going to end in Raqqa or Mosul. It’s going to end in your lands,” the boy says. (Washington Times)

Offline, cultlike, Spain terror cell evaded detection

The jihadist cell behind last week's twin attacks in Spain was built around a "guru" and went completely offline to avoid detection by anti-terrorist police, experts said. The group managed to evade authorities so well that even a giant explosion at their bomb factory in Alcanar, where police later uncovered massive quantities of ingredients to build TATP, was not at first linked to the jihadists. Investigators only made the connection after their vehicle rampages in Barcelona and the nearby seaside town of Cambrils. (France 24)



Candice Malcolm: Trudeau walks back reckless immigration tweet

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has finally — finally — let it be known that Canada does not have an open-border immigration policy. After months of sending mixed messages to potential refugees, implying that Canada accepts everybody, Trudeau finally mustered the courage to speak out against illegal immigration. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: Trudeau’s border deflections are just getting silly now

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went out of his way on Wednesday to avoid ever having to utter the phrase “illegal” in regard to the, uh, illegal border crossings happening daily. And I mean really out of his way. This all happened at a press conference the PM was giving following an intergovernmental meeting in Montreal on how they’ll handle the illegal border crisis. Not that he used the words “illegal” or “crisis”, of course. (Toronto Sun)

Chris Selley: Astonishing nonsense from the Liberals amid surge of asylum-seekers

When Conservative Canadian governments deport failed asylum-seekers and try to prevent them from arriving in the first place, they tend to boast about it. When Liberal Canadian governments deport failed asylum-seekers and try to prevent them from arriving in the first place, they tend to pretend it’s simply not happening. On migration policy, this is one of the key differences between our two natural governing parties. It basically boils down to branding. (National Post)

Chris Selley: What is so hard about supporting free speech?

The most widely popular policy at the Conservative leadership convention in May might have been Andrew Scheer’s promise to defund universities that don’t protect free speech. The idea had many practical and philosophical flaws — if you mistrust universities to protect free speech, you should absolutely mistrust governments to do the same — but it at least seemed like an idea that could sustain Conservative troops in opposition. (National Post)

Chantal Hebert: Trudeau’s warning to would-be asylum seekers may fall on deaf ears

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau travelled on Wednesday to Montreal — ground zero of the intense media coverage of the asylum-seeking issue— to try to unknit some of his own knitting. He met with the interprovincial task force set up to co-ordinate the logistics of the response to the influx of would-be asylum seekers that have been crossing the U.S. border into Quebec as well as with leaders of the Haitian community. In between, the prime minister held a news conference. (Toronto Star)

John Ivison: Liberals proving they're more focused on taxing wealth than creating it

The Liberals had already upset the small-business community by promising higher payroll levies to expand the Canada Pension Plan and by reneging on the pledge to reduce the corporate tax rate to 9 per cent. As such, they probably felt they had little to lose politically by sticking it to the same group again with their proposal to crack down on the use of tax “loopholes” by small business owners and professionals like doctors and accountants. (National Post)

Christie Blatchford: The most heinous crime in Canada — judge faces hearing over Trump hat

The “sweetness of proportion”, the 17th century English playwright and poet Ben Jonson once said, and o, how missing it is in the modern Canada. Consider the trial of Ontario Court Judge Bernd Zabel. Well, alright, it wasn’t a trial exactly, but rather a hearing – the equivalent of a guilty plea — before a panel of the Ontario Judicial Council. (National Post)

Brian Lee Crowley: Ottawa’s response to asylum seekers undercuts the system

In a clear assault on the integrity of the Canadian immigration system, the number of asylum seekers evading standard border controls and admitting themselves to Canada continues at disquieting levels. Authorities in border towns such as Cornwall, Ont., and Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que., are now having to set up camps to accommodate the influx of literally thousands of people this month alone, people who would have been turned back at any border crossing by this country’s officials. (Globe and Mail)

Neil Macdonald: Canada's review of arms sales to Saudi Arabia runs into a bit of a snag

It's hard to report this with a straight face, but Global Affairs tells me that its urgent and serious review of Canadian arms sales to Saudi Arabia is running into a bit of a snag. Apparently, despite images of Saudi troops using Gurkha combat machines, manufactured by Ontario-based Terradyne Armored Vehicles, in their campaign to crush rebellious Shia subjects in the eastern Qatif region of the kingdom, "conclusive evidence" that Canadian-made vehicles are involved remains elusive. (CBC)



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