True North Initiative: News Scan 09 19 17


Figures showing scope of asylum seeker arrivals in August to be released

New figures are expected today on the number of people who illegally crossed into Canada to seek asylum last month. Among the numbers will be the final tally of a massive surge in arrivals specifically in Quebec in August. Officials now say 12,000 people have arrived there since the start of the year, but a breakdown of how many last month in particular will only be released today. (CTV)

Refugee groups expect surge in Salvadoran, Honduran asylum seekers

Settlement groups are bracing for a rush of asylum claimants crossing by foot into B.C. as protections lapse for citizens of countries in crisis who sought refuge in the U.S. People with temporary protected status in the U.S. are those considered unable to safely return home to countries torn by war or hit by a major natural disaster. They can’t be deported or detained by the Department of Homeland Security. The U.S. federal government is now considering whether to extend the protected status for residents of countries whose designations are set to expire next year. Based on President Donald Trump’s administration’s decision in May to grant Haiti a shorter-than-average, six-month extension, immigration experts are guessing these designations will lapse. (Vancouver Sun) (Leader Post)

Terror trial: Officers say they found bomb ingredients in shopping bag

In El Mahdi Jamali’s bedroom at his family’s home, it was explained in court on Monday, they found some of the materials believed to be required to assemble the device: a box of assorted hardware nails, two nine-volt batteries, four AA batteries, a tube of Super Glue and a roll of duct tape. The items were found inside a Dollarama bag stored in a white Armani Express shopping bag stuffed in the bottom corner of Jamali’s closet. (Montreal Gazette)

Britain to urge Facebook, Google to crack down on jihadis

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is set to urge Facebook and Google to crack down on terrorism. This is following several deadly terror attacks in Britain over the past six months. As a result, May will urge social networking majors Facebook and Search engine giant Google to crackdown on jihadi preachers that use the web at an event in New York this week, The Mirror reported late Sunday. (TechSource)

German teen IS 'jihadi bride' facing imminent execution in Iraq

A German teenager, dubbed the ‘Jihadi bride’, could soon be executed for joining Islamic State (IS), the prime minister of Iraq has warned. Linda Wenzel, 16, is in a prison in Baghdad awaiting trial to find out if she faces the sentence of death by hanging. She was found in a basement in Mosul in July during an offensive by Iraqi forces to drive IS from the city. (Yahoo)

World opinion on migrants: Unease mounts

Almost half (48%) of the thousands interviewed say there are too many immigrants in their country. An Ipsos survey of opinion in 25 countries around the world shows a high level of unease with migration, whether immigration, migrants or refugees. The Ipsos Global @dvisor survey also finds that on average 39 per cent of citizens from 25 countries surveyed want to close borders to refugees entirely, while a slim majority of 51% disagree and 10% are not sure. (Radio Canada)

Iran's Rouhani: US will pay a high cost if Trump scraps nuclear deal

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Monday that America will pay a "high cost" if US President Donald Trump makes good on his threats to scrap the Iran nuclear deal. Speaking in an exclusive interview with CNN in New York, Rouhani said: "Exiting such an agreement would carry a high cost for the United States of America, and I do not believe Americans would be willing to pay such a high cost for something that will be useless for them." (CNN)

A chilling study shows how hostile college students are toward free speech

Here’s the problem with suggesting that upsetting speech warrants “safe spaces,” or otherwise conflating mere words with physical assault: If speech is violence, then violence becomes a justifiable response to speech. Just ask college students. A fifth of undergrads now say it’s acceptable to use physical force to silence a speaker who makes “offensive and hurtful statements.” (Washington Post)


Jose Luis Millan found a new crop of star employees at an upscale Tijuana car wash where customers cross the border from the U.S. to pay up to $950 to have their prized possessions steamed and scrubbed for hours. They're never late, always hustle and come in on days off to learn new skills, traits that he says make them a model for their Mexican counterparts. They are among several thousand Haitians who came to Mexico's northwest corner hoping to cross the border before the U.S. abruptly closed its doors last year. The Mexican government has welcomed them, with a visa program that helps them fill the need for labor in Tijuana's growing economy. (AP)

In pursuit of asylum on the US-Canada border

The rate of asylum seekers illegally crossing the border increased sharply during the initial days of the Trump presidency, with 678 entering Canada in February. That number has grown steadily with 3,135 asylum seekers coming in July and more than 3,700 crossing into the province of Quebec alone in the first two weeks of August, RCMP Constable Erique Gasse told Al Jazeera. (Al Jazeera)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Canada has its own 'Dreamers,' but no program to protect them

Halifax immigration lawyer Lee Cohen says Canadians should think twice about wagging their fingers at U.S. President Donald Trump when it comes to immigration policy. Earlier this month, the Trump administration said it would end an Obama-era program that shields from deportation about 800,000 so-called "Dreamers" who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children. Although Trump's move to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy — a decision he has since hinted he will revisit — has been controversial, Cohen points out Canada does not have a similar program that protects children brought here illegally. (CBC)

Confrontation expected at Sept 30 rally against 'state-run media'

After its last rally was interrupted by AntiFa demonstrators, Winnipeg Alternative Media is planning another rally and says a group in Alberta - that's been linked to anti-government extremists - has offered to travel to Winnipeg to provide security for the event where confrontations are expected. "It's for free speech and against AntiFa and Nazism," said organizer Josh Sigurdson, who in 2013 co-founded the anti-mainstream media organization. It is organizing the rally in Winnipeg on Sept. 30 in response to a Sept. 9 rally outside the CBC building, he said by phone Monday. At it, the anti-mainstream group's other co-founder, Todd McDougall, criticized "state-run media," on a bullhorn when he was allegedly assaulted and called a Nazi, Sigurdson said. (Winnipeg Free Press)

Liberals maintain double-digit lead despite Khadr payout, proposed tax reforms: poll

The governing Liberals opened the fall session of Parliament with a healthy 12-point lead over the Conservatives, maintaining robust advantages in vote-rich Ontario and Quebec, while flirting with supermajority numbers in Atlantic Canada, a new public opinion poll suggests. The latest survey from Campaign Research, conducted between Sept. 8-11 and released first to The Hill Times, pegs support for the Liberals at 42 per cent nationally, compared to 30 per cent for the second-place Tories and 16 per cent for the NDP, suggesting little backlash from the government’s proposed tax reforms or the controversial multi-million dollar payout to Omar Khadr. (Hill Times)

Trudeau calls on Suu Kyi to condemn violence against Rohingya Muslims

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Aung San Suu Kyi must publicly condemn the atrocities being committed against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, or else her rhetoric and global reputation as a champion of human rights will mean nothing. Suu Kyi, an honorary Canadian citizen and a long-celebrated Nobel Peace Prize winner, has come in for withering international criticism for failing to stop — or even speak out against — the violence. (CBC)

Rohingya mother cradling dead baby offers sobering look into crisis

Abdul Masood lived only to be five weeks old. Photos of his mother and father — Rohingya Muslims who fled persecution in Myanmar — mourning his loss are among the most powerful to emerge from the humanitarian crisis. In a series of photographs, Hamida and her husband Nasir Ahmed, cradle and kiss the child’s lifeless body. Abdul drowned after a fishing boat the family was fleeing on capsized just before reaching the shore of Bangladesh’s village of Shah Porir Dwip. (Global)

'Call it a genocide before it's too late' Canada asked to do more on Myanmar crisis

A Toronto advocate is calling for Canada to push the UN to send a peace-keeping mission to Myanmar, on the heels of the Foreign Affairs Minister calling the situation there "ethnic cleansing." At a weekend rally in Toronto, Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada is "seeking access" into the Rakhine State, one of the areas most affected by the ongoing conflict. In an email to Metro, a spokesperson said the access would allow the government to assess the situation and report back to Canadians and the international community. (Metro)

Should you worry about U.S. border agents searching your phone? Yes, says privacy czar

Canadians should be “very concerned” about their cell phones, computers and other electronic devices being searched by U.S. border agents, the federal privacy czar says. Privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien told a House of Commons committee Monday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers can look at mobile devices and even demand passwords under American law. (Global)

Liberals leave royal position vacant in Queen's Sapphire Jubilee year

A decades-old liaison job between Canada and the monarch has been left vacant since May, as the Liberal government reviews the future of the position during the Queen's Sapphire Jubilee marking her 65 years on the throne. The Canadian Secretary to the Queen (CSQ) was created in 1959 as the Canadian adviser to the monarch and co-ordinator of royal visits to Canada, including those of family members. Among the responsibilities was to write the Queen's speeches when in Canada. (CBC)


The agreement on safe third country between Canada and the United States always has its reason to be, despite the tightening of american immigration policy, according to the Montreal mayor and former federal minister of Immigration, Denis Coderre. “At the time, it was a great deal, and I think that today, it still applies well “, he said in an interview, citing the exception measures that enable Canada to pursue a policy of welcoming refugees independent of that of the United States. (Sherbrook Times)

Trudeau threatens to not buy Boeing fighter jets to protest firm’s trade complaint

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau threatened Monday to scrap his government’s planned purchase of Boeing Super Hornet fighter jets in direct retaliation for the U.S. company’s trade complaint against Bombardier. Flanked by British Prime Minister Theresa May, who had expressed fears that jobs at a Bombardier plant in Northern Ireland could be hit by Boeing’s trade actions against the Canadian company, Trudeau upped the ante in the increasingly bitter trade dispute with the United States. (Toronto Star)

Byelections to be held in October in Tory-held ridings in Quebec and Alberta

Elections Canada has announced the dates for two federal byelections to be held in Quebec and Alberta ridings vacated by Conservative MPs. The votes in Sturgeon River-Parkland, Alta., and Lac-Saint-Jean, Que., will be held on Monday, Oct. 23. Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose had previously held the seat in Sturgeon River-Parkland, just west of Edmonton. (Global)

Wab Kinew's historic NDP leadership win clouded by domestic abuse allegations, attack website

Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew's historic win has been clouded by allegations of domestic assault and an attack-filled website created by the Progressive Conservatives. "The person who ran to become leader of the NDP, that was chosen on the weekend, the person that will be running to be premier in 2020, is the person that I am today," Kinew said on CBC's Information Radio on Monday. (CBC)

Trump at UN: 'America First' president arrives on premier internationalist stage

This week the United Nations is hearing for the first time from a U.S. president who called the organization weak, incompetent, antithetical to freedom, anti-American and hostile to democracy. Donald Trump said all that in one campaign speech. (National Post)

What if: Is Canada ready for a nuclear strike from North Korea?

For the first time in decades, it’s possible – however unlikely – that Canada could experience a nuclear attack from a rogue nation that appears eager to show off its military strength against our allies to the south. It’s a doomsday scenario that has gone from unthinkable to remotely possible in just a few short years. Now, with North Korea boasting the ability to hit North America with a hydrogen bomb delivered via intercontinental ballistic missile, experts say such an attack could potentially miss an intended U.S. target and hit somewhere in Canada instead. (CTV)


Japan on Tuesday moved a mobile missile-defense system on the northern island of Hokkaido to a base near recent North Korean missile flyover routes. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor unit was deployed at the Hakodate base on southern Hokkaido "as a precaution" as part of government preparations for a possible emergency. (AP)



Anthony Furey: A kinder, gentler M-103? Let’s just wait and see

The controversial M-103 committee hearings finally got underway Monday, the whole affair being more of a whimper than the bang observers expected. It was a tone-setting meeting, with the first witness to offer testimony being Liberal MP Iqra Khalid. In some sense, it was fitting, as she was the MP who presented the motion calling on the heritage committee to look into “systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia.” (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: Trudeau doubles down on class war declaration to shore up progressive vote

If Justin Trudeau has any legislator’s remorse about his small business tax hike, it is probably nothing compared to the woman now responsible for the worst public policy idea since sub-prime mortgages. Theresa May, the U.K. prime minister, was in Ottawa on Monday, where she was forced to cope with searing heat and the fallout from the decision of her foreign minister, Boris Johnson, to lay out his own vision for Brexit. (National Post)

Ezra Levant: Parliament gets ready to weaponize M-103, Trudeau’s “anti-Islamphobia” motion

Today the Heritage Committee of the House of Commons begins its study of M-103. That’s the motion that calls on Parliament to take a “whole of government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia." That means all of government — the Canada Revenue Agency, Canada Border Services Agency, the CRTC and CBC, the RCMP and CSIS, even our Canadian Armed Forces — now have to be part of a campaign to eliminate Islamophobia. (Rebel)

Mark Bonokoski: Tory leader Andrew Scheer cannot be a pussyfooter

It’s make it or break it time for Andrew Scheer. The newish leader of the Conservative Party of Canada - his squeaker victory in May coming as a surprise during the 13th round of a complicated balloting system - has to break up the lovefest Canadians still seem to have for Justin Trudeau. This is job number one, and it's no easy task. (Calgary Sun)

Aaron Wudrick and Todd Mackay: Farmers are already cutting emissions, they don’t carbon tax punishment

Saskatchewan farmer Levi Wood and Agriculture Canada bureaucrats agree on two things: 1) Canadian farmers are producing more food while reducing emissions; and, 2) hitting farmers with a carbon tax won’t reduce emissions faster.  “The agricultural sector is producing more without increasing its GHG emissions,” wrote the Ottawa bureaucrats in an internal memo sourced by media. It goes on to say the federal government’s proposed carbon tax would be unlikely to incent change because it’s “too low.” Wood delivers a similar message. (Calgary Sun)



-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs meets on Thursday September 21 to study the Situation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia 25 Years after the End of the Cold War (In Camera)