True North Initiative: News Scan 09 13 17

2017 09 13


Trump policies could lead to fresh ‘spike’ in asylum seekers, intelligence report warns

Border officials are bracing for yet another spike in asylum seekers crossing into Canada from the United States, an internal government document reveals, with thousands of additional claimants potentially arriving on our doorstep seeking refugee status. A Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) intelligence analysis sheet, obtained this week by Global News, explains that the U.S. could be on the verge of ending Temporary Protection Status for citizens of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Honduras and Syria. (Global)

Four-year sentence for man found guilty of smuggling Tamil migrants to Canada

A Sri Lankan man found guilty of smuggling Tamil migrants to Canada won't serve any more time in prison, despite being handed a four-sentence on Monday. Kunarobinson Christhurajah, who has already spent seven years behind bars awaiting trial, smiled as he stood before a British Columbia Supreme Court judge. He was convicted in May of being involved in the smuggling of 492 asylum seekers, who arrived on British Columbia's coast aboard the MV Sun Sea in August 2010. (CTV)

Trial begins in Montreal for 2 people charged with terrorism-related offences

Fourteen jurors were selected Tuesday at the terrorism-related trial of two young adults, with particular attention in the vetting process paid to race and religion. El Mahdi Jamali, 20, and Sabrine Djermane, 21, each face four charges: attempting to leave Canada to commit a terror act abroad; possession of an explosive substance; facilitating a terrorist act; and committing an act under the direction or for the profit of a terrorist organization. Both pleaded not guilty through their lawyers before six men and eight women were eventually selected as jurors. (CTV)

Jury picked for trial of Montreal teens facing terror charges

Twelve jurors and two alternates have been selected in the case of a young Montreal couple —​ Sabrine Djermane and El Mahdi Jamali. They were teenagers when they were charged with terrorism-related offences in 2015. Djermane, who was 19, and Jamali, 18, at the time of their arrests were students at Collège de Maisonneuve. (CBC)

691 Canadians who wanted out of hurricane-struck Caribbean are home: minister

The federal government wants to learn lessons from its efforts to evacuate Canadians from the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean but stopped short Tuesday of apologizing to complaining travellers over how it handled the disaster. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said she personally greeted a flight of returning Canadian passengers at Toronto's Pearson Airport on Monday night, and spoke with several passengers there and by phone. She gave them a letter soliciting feedback on how the government handled the emergency. (CTV)

Haitian asylum seekers tries to find footing in Montreal

The Louis family was taken to Montreal and lodged in a temporary shelter until they could find a more permanent place to live. That proved to be a challenge, as the family is depending on government social assistance to stay afloat until Louis-Jean Louis can get a work permit. Louis and his family will have to make their case for refugee status in front of Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). They'll have to persuade the IRB that if they're sent back to Haiti, there's a good chance they'll be harmed or persecuted. Otherwise, they'll face deportation. (CBC)

Ontario's child and youth advocate looking out for young asylum seekers

Ontario’s advocate for children and youth is expanding his reach to include teenage asylum seekers. Irwin Elman said this week that he is increasingly concerned about vulnerable youth entering Canada on their own. He recently met with federal immigration and border officials so they could develop a plan to work together to protect teenagers who come to the province on their own. (Ottawa Sun)

Jury hears openings at trial of American terror suspect

A US citizen whose terrorism trial started Tuesday, a day after the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, is both a dangerous Al Qaeda operative and someone who has a right to a fair trial in his native country, a federal prosecutor said during opening statements. Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, who was born in Houston, raised in Dubai, and went to college in Canada before ending up in Pakistan, is ‘‘an American citizen who turned his back on this country, joined terrorists, and lived with them for seven years before he was caught,’’ Assistant US Attorney Saritha Komatireddy said in federal court in Brooklyn. (Boston Globe) (NY Daily News)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Uncertainty Could Lead to Increased Migration to Canada

The U.S.’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is set to end, leaving up to 800,000 Dreamers uncertain about their future in the United States. Canadian immigration lawyers have already begun to receive calls from some of these Dreamers who are asking about potential Canadian options. Already this year Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board has seen an uptick in asylum requests from Mexicans. In the first seven months of 2017, 606 applications have been filed. Compare this to the 242 filed in all of 2016, and it is easy to see how the end of the DACA program could potentially increase those numbers. (Prairies News Tribune)

This Controversial Alt-Right Group Is Recruiting on Canadian Campuses

Promotional posters and pamphlets by alt-right group Generation Identify have appeared on at least five campuses across Canada, prompting yet another university debate on hate speech vs. free speech. By Tuesday, most of the signs—which consisted of stark black and white missives urging students to "Defend Your Freedoms"—had reportedly been removed by students or staff. (VICE)

Canadian judge who wore Trump hat in court suspended for 30 days

A Hamilton judge who wore a "Make America Great Again" hat in court the morning after Donald Trump's U.S. election win last November has been suspended for 30 days. Judge Bernd Zabel appeared before a disciplinary hearing last month, and said he did not support the American president, but was simply trying to make people laugh when he wore the baseball cap with the phrase Trump used during his campaign. (CBC)

Free English classes for newcomers to double in Richmond

Free government-funded English classes for new immigrants living in Richmond will double to address the growing needs of English learners. After receiving funding from the provincial government, immigrant service S.U.C.C.E.S.S. will add 29 new free English classes to the 28 existing ones in Richmond. (Richmond News)

Counter-protests planned for anti-Trudeau/illegal immigration rally in Peterborough

Activist and online groups in Peterborough are planning counter-protests in response to an upcoming rally by a white nationalist group. The Canadian Nationalist Front, led by chairman Kevin Goudreau, plans to stage an “Anti-Trudeau/illegal immigration” rally on Sept. 30 — no other details on the event have been announced. Goudreau said on Friday it will be part of a nationwide rally against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the government’s immigration policies. (Global)

Trudeau's Bahamas vacation cost over $215K — far more than initially disclosed

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's controversial Bahamas vacation cost Canadian taxpayers over $215,000 — far more than initially disclosed to Parliament, CBC News has learned. A document obtained by CBC News under the Access to Information Act reveals the RCMP spent more than twice the amount it initially listed in its response to a question posed by a member of Parliament earlier this year (CBC)

Farmers furious over Ottawa's tax changes, but too busy harvesting crops to mount a fight

Canadian farmers, busy pulling in the fall’s harvest, fear Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s proposed tax changes will make them uncompetitive relative to large land aggregators and could exacerbate a demographic crisis in farming communities. Herb Groenenboom, who grows wheat, barley and canola with his two brothers near Picture Butte, Alta. said he’s angry the federal government’s proposed tax changes were announced at the busiest time of the year for farmers. (Financial Post)

The World’s elite snipers gather for Canadian competition

It’s a murky profession and one previously not talked about much in the general public sphere. Recently however, the hit feature film American Sniper told the story of a famous US Navy Seal sniper, A Canadian documentary on WW II Canadian snipers (Black Watch Snipers) also brought a little-told story to light. (Radio Canada)

Where North Korea, the Hermit Kingdom, gets money for nuclear weapons

The United Nations levelled another set of sanctions against North Korea on Monday, aimed at putting economic pressure on Kim Jong-Un’s regime. The international community has put many sanctions on North Korea over the years but they’ve had little effect on the Hermit Kingdom’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. So where is it getting the money? Mining, chemical weapons, and forced labour mostly. (Global)

RUSI Report on Terror Ransom Payments Says Americans Are at Risk

American hostages are at greater risk of being murdered or tortured because some European nations pay multimillion-dollar ransoms to terrorist groups, a think tank warned Tuesday. The U.S. has a policy of not paying ransoms to banned militant organizations, a principle it has stood by through the high-profile beheadings of several Americans by ISIS. (NBC)

Iraq declares planned Kurdish independence referendum unconstitutional

The leader of Iraq's Kurdish region defended an independence referendum planned for later this month during a visit Tuesday to the oil-rich Kirkuk province, the epicentre of a long-running dispute with the central government. Iraq's parliament, meanwhile, rejected the referendum in a non-binding resolution and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi described it as "unconstitutional" hours after the vote. (CBC)

Canada pushes back decision on UN peace mission

Two years after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “Canada is back” on the world stage, the federal Liberal government is preparing to host a major international peacekeeping conference but will not announce where it will deploy Canadian assets, the Star has learned. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in an exclusive interview that the government has not yet decided on a mission, and won’t before the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial forum in Vancouver on Nov. 14 and 15.The summit was envisioned to seek pledges of troops for UN peace operations, but Sajjan said the Canadian government took lessons from a similar summit last year in London, and does not want the Vancouver conference to be just about “announcements.” (Toronto Star)

Equifax data breach catches attention of Canada’s privacy commissioner

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner office says it has prioritized an examination into the massive Equifax data hack to ensure that Canadians are protected against future risks. In a posting on its website, it says it plans to work with data protection authorities in Canada and elsewhere to find out what went wrong. (Global)

Florida official: Death toll rises to 12 in state

As night fell Tuesday, many people from South Carolina to Florida were staying in darkened homes, dealing with fallen trees and blocked roadways, and hoping they could find gas. The situation in the Sunshine State was trying the patience of people who rode out the storm and those who came home after evacuating Hurricane Irma's path to find widespread devastation and access to their neighborhoods limited at times. (CNN)

'A textbook example of ethnic cleansing': 370,000 Rohingya refugees flee Myanmar as crisis worsens

The number of Rohingya refugees fleeing a military crackdown in Myanmar has now topped 370,000, a crisis that the United Nations human rights chief called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Hundreds of thousands of the long-persecuted ethnic minority continued to stream via land and rickety boats into Bangladesh this week, arriving exhausted, dehydrated and recounting tales of nightmarish horrors at the hands of the Myanmar military, including friends and neighbours shot dead and homes torched before their eyes. (National Post)

Congress approves sale of 'interim' Super Hornets, estimates cost at US$5.23B

The U.S. State Department has told Congress that it has no concerns about the potential sale of 18 Super Hornet fighter jets to Canada, with a price tag estimated at US$5.23 billion. The figure includes weapons, spare parts, training, software and other costs associated with putting the jets into service, but does not appear to include long-term maintenance and support. The State Department says selling the Super Hornets to Canada would contribute to the U.S. government's foreign policy and national security objectives. (CTV)

North Korea threatens US with 'greatest pain' after UN sanctions

North Korea has threatened the United States with the "greatest pain" it has ever suffered following new sanctions imposed by the United Nations. Pyongyang's envoy to the UN accused Washington of opting for "political, economic and military confrontation". (BBC)

South Korea detects radioactive gas from North Korea bomb test

South Korea said on Wednesday traces of radioactive xenon gas were confirmed to be from a North Korean nuclear test earlier this month, but it was unable to conclude whether the test had been for a hydrogen bomb as Pyongyang claimed. North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3, prompting the UN Security Council to step up sanctions with a ban on the reclusive regime's textile exports and a cap on fuel imports. (CNBC)

What Happened: The long list of who Hillary Clinton blames

The beauty of Hillary Clinton's new book title, What Happened, is it can be interpreted in so many ways. Perhaps it's a definitive account of the 2016 presidential election. "Here's what happened". Maybe it's an exclamation, like someone reacting to an unexpectedly loud noise (or an electoral earthquake). "Yikes! What happened!?" (BBC)



Anthony Furey: And now for the full story on the Jagmeet Singh heckler incident

It’s the story that’s been read around North America and even shared by the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. It’s serving as a teachable moment for how public figures should deal with brazen racists. And one Canadian politician is being hailed a hero. The only problem is, the story, as it’s been told, is a total mess and only half the truth. (Toronto Sun)

Brian Lilley: Trudeau really isn’t a feminist

Justin Trudeau is a feminist. We know this to be true because he tells us over and over and over again. For most in the media, all he needs to do to prove that he is a feminists is smile and say in his best substitute drama teacher voice, “Because it’s 2015.” In early 2016, while being feted at a United Nations conference on women Trudeau said, “I’m going to keep saying, loud and clearly, that I am a feminist.” And for the most part, people believe him, nod along and then move on. (Brian Lilley)

Calgary Herald: Repair our immigration

Canada’s immigration system has been far from perfect for years, but the recent crisis of refugee claimants walking across the American border into our country highlights the shortcomings. So, too, does the plight of a four-year-old adopted boy languishing with his Calgary mother in India. (Calgary Herald)

Lorne Gunter: The feds have left the tough calls on weed to the provinces

When I was in university, two of the dumbest guys I knew had a thriving pot business. They grew their plants behind a pair of bushes under their rez room window and conducted sales from a corner at the pizza place down the street. Selling weed is neither complicated nor particularly difficult. But just watch how cumbersome and bureaucratic it becomes after governments try to take over “bud” retailing next July. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Health concerns should be a buzzkill for pot-happy politicians

If the Trudeau Liberals were Boy Scouts, they’d be miserable failures in living up to the troop’s famous motto of “Be Prepared.” Anyone who still thinks the Liberals have all the pieces in place in their rush to legalize the recreational use of marijuana by Canada Day 2018 has being smoking the drapes. (Toronto Sun)

Andrea Elliot: Demanding Canadian experience is no way to conduct business

“You don’t have Canadian experience.” This is what a new immigrant from New Delhi with a university degree, an MBA and a wealth of prior business experience was told at a recent job interview. In her 40s, the woman had arrived from India, confident she would have greater career opportunities and a better life for her daughters, but was quickly disheartened to find her impressive resume held little weight within our borders.  (Financial Post)

Kavitha Surana: Why do some countries get away with taking fewer refugees?

With the signing of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the world put in place for the first time a system for defining refugees, setting out their rights, and granting them asylum. But in the face of the most dire refugee crisis since World War II, even wealthy countries with the means and ability to support those fleeing conflict are increasingly trying to close their doors. Here, Yun Sun, a China expert at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C., and Martin Schain, a professor emeritus of politics at New York University, discuss why an international system designed to help the world's most vulnerable continues to fall short. (Chicago Tribune)



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