True North Initiative: News Scan 10 11 17


Border control finds more than a dozen who had entered U.S. from Canada

The U.S. Border Patrol says agents apprehended a group of 16 people from Mexico and two countries in Central America after some of them illegally entered the United States from Canada. A federal criminal complaint filed Tuesday says a Honduran citizen was charged with immigrant smuggling and two Mexican citizens were charged with being in the United States after having been previously deported. The three men and 13 others from Mexico and Guatemala, including a 4-year-old, were apprehended early Sunday at a hotel in the Vermont town of Derby Line, not far from the Canadian border. (CTV)

Toronto-area teen terrorist who plotted to bomb NYC subway, other landmarks a drug addict: Court docs

An Ontario teen who admitted plotting to attack New York City landmarks suffered from drug addiction and mental health issues, newly released court documents show. Letters from defence lawyers and a New York prosecutor filed with an American court show Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, of Mississauga, Ont., suffered a relapse in prison and tested positive for a prescription drug used in opioid-addiction treatments, a finding that led to the loss of family visitations for seven months. (Toronto Sun) (National Post) (CBC)

Canadian in NYC terror trial met with Omar Khadr's lawyer in prison

A Canadian teen who pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges in connection with a plot to attack New York City landmarks has met in prison with Alberta lawyer Dennis Edney, who previously defended Omar Khadr, CTV News has learned. Nineteen-year-old Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy’s parents asked Edney, who represented Khadr, a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner, to look at the case, CTV’s Glen McGregor reported Tuesday (CTV)

Man convicted in foiled murder plot fears deportation

A Winnipeg man convicted of plotting to kill his business partner is urging a judge to sentence him to just under six months in jail.  His lawyer said sentencing Amare Gebru to any more time in custody would result in him likely being deported to his native Ethiopia, where he might be subject to torture, defence lawyer Mike Cook told Justice Vic Toews at a sentencing hearing Tuesday. (CBC)

Stuck in limbo: Manitoban asylum seekers wait to hear if they can stay

The number of asylum seekers in Manitoba waiting to hear if they can stay in their new homes is going up. According to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, 40,000 asylum seekers are currently backlogged to have their refugee claims heard. The number has skyrocketed in recent years due to federal funding, staff limitations, and an intense influx of those coming to Canada through non-border crossings in recent years. (Global)

B.C. students allege overcharging, fraud by international recruiters

B.C. colleges are spending millions luring international students to the province, leading to a growing windfall for loosely regulated overseas recruiters who often take a cut of the proceeds, and sometimes even extort foreign students and their families. The province’s public and private colleges often rely on a cross-border network of recruiting agents and international schools to supply them with undergraduate students willing to pay tuition fees that are often three to four times higher than what domestic students pay. (Vancouver Sun)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Feds deny employee discounts will be taxed, despite CRA doc to the contrary

That employee discount on lululemon yoga pants is safe from the taxman, the Justin Trudeau government insists. After a furious weekend outcry over a plan to tax employee discounts, National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier issued a statement Tuesday that says the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) will be “clarifying” its wording on a directive to retailers. (Toronto Sun) (Financial Post)

Canada tops G7 in latest IMF estimate for 2017 economic growth, No. 2 in 2018

The International Monetary Fund has raised its estimate for Canada's economic growth rate for this year and 2018, putting it at or near the top of the heap among advanced economies. The Washington-based IMF is now estimating Canada's gross domestic product for 2017 will be 3.0 per cent — half a percentage point higher than its July estimate. That would put Canada ahead of all the other Group of Seven countries, with the United States coming second at 2.2 per cent growth from last year. (CBC)

Freeland: 'This may be most uncertain international moment since WWII'

Canada finds itself navigating the most uncertain moment in international relations since the end of the Second World War, says Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. Freeland made the remark Tuesday in Washington during a panel discussion at a women-in-business summit organized by Fortune magazine. She was being asked about recent comments by the head of the U.S. Senate foreign relations committee. (CBC)

New NDP leader Jagmeet Singh challenges Trudeau with luscious mane: 'I have more hair, it’s longer and it’s nicer'

Newly minted federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the hair nestled tightly under his turban is real and it’s spectacular. During a trip to Quebec’s Saguenay region Tuesday ahead of a federal byelection later this month, Singh said he’s sometimes asked what’s under his Sikh religious headwear. (Toronto Sun)

Jagmeet Singh’s NDP would impose sales tax on Netflix

The federal NDP has changed tack and announced it would impose sales taxes on Netflix and other foreign Internet-based companies, diverging sharply with the other major parties on the contentious pocketbook issue. The announcement is a clear shift for the NDP, which promised in the 2015 general election that it would not tax Netflix. It shows that under rookie leader Jagmeet Singh, the party is willing to reverse traditional policies to capitalize on the Liberal government's perceived weaknesses among progressive voters. (Globe and Mail)

Politicians criticize Trudeau's reaction to critics of Energy East demise

Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should not go after critics of the cancelled Energy East pipeline project, but should look to his own actions. Scheer spoke in Edmonton about Trudeau's recent social media comments accusing those critics of using the project's demise to pit regions of Canada against each other. "I just find it odd that every time the prime minister makes a decision where Canadians are upset by the result of that, that he somehow blames them," Scheer said Tuesday. "There are a lot of people upset with the decision to kill Energy East." (CTV)

CSIS and RCMP accused of entrapping terrorism suspects

On July 2, 2013, the RCMP held a press conference in Surrey, BC. Standing against a bright-blue backdrop, grim-looking senior RCMP officers, dressed in full regalia, displayed photos of pressure cookers said to have contained explosives. They then solemnly announced the arrest of two people, which had occurred the previous day, for “terrorism-related activities”. (National Observer)

Warship designers scramble to assemble boatload of supporting documents for bids

Companies bidding to design Canada's new warships have to throw in specifications for everything — including the kitchen sink and the paperwork to prove it works. That is one of about 600 technical requirements in the design stage of the $60-billion frigate replacement program — the myriad tiny details that some of the 12 companies in the competition say are excessive. (CBC)

Donald Trump’s ‘outrageous’ demands put NAFTA negotiations at risk of collapse as talks resume Wednesday, experts say

U. S. President Donald Trump’s administration is making such unrealistic North American Free Trade Agreement demands that the negotiation is at risk of implosion, trade experts and the top American business lobby group are warning. As Canadian and Mexican negotiators join Trump’s team near Washington on Wednesday to begin a critical fourth round of talks, their work is surrounded by growing transcontinental pessimism about the chances of reaching a revised deal. (Toronto Sun)

Islamabad High Court to hear bail plea of US terror suspect on Friday

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will hear the bail plea later this week of an American citizen of Pakistani origin awaiting extradition to the United States for allegedly planning an attack on New York in connivance with the militant Islamic State (IS) group, the suspect’s lawyer said on Tuesday. (Pakistan Today)

Could Vegas police have taken down Stephen Paddock sooner?

The revised timeline given by investigators for the Las Vegas massacre raises questions about whether better communication might have allowed police to respond more quickly and take out the gunman before he could kill and wound so many people. (Toronto Sun)

US supersonic bombers fly over Korean peninsula in ‘show of force’ despite Kim Jong-Un’s threats to shoot them down

THE US has flown two bomber jets over the Korean peninsula in a “show of force” as tensions over the North Korean nuke crisis reach boiling point. Two US B-1 bombers carried out a training exercise on Tuesday with Japanese and South Korean military aircraft. Six military planes took part in a drill over the Sea of Japan, Yonhap news agency said. The two bombers carried out air-to-ground missile drills in waters off the east coast of South Korea, then flew over the South to waters between it and China to repeat the drill. (

Donald Trump summons US Generals to White House WAR ROOM over North Korea

Options for preventative military strikes were discussed in the meeting led by Pentagon chief General James Mattis and the US military's top officer General Joseph Dunford. Tensions between the US and North Korea have been worsening as Kim Jong-un refuses to give up his quest for nuclear capable ICBMs. (Daily Star)

ISIS fighters are lined up and kicked in the groin in bizarre new propaganda video

ISIS have found a new way of showcasing their troops' 'fighting spirit' - by lining them up in front of a camera and kicking them in the genitals. Pictures from a propaganda video shot at an ISIS training camp in Yemen, purports to show the baffling exercise being part of the hardening of new recruits. A handful of terrorists-in-training can be seen standing with their legs apart while an ISIS instructor kicks them in the groin with force (Daily Mail)



Tarek Fatah: On the decency of my fellow Canadians

The intersection of Parliament and Carlton Streets in downtown Toronto is one of the most eclectic places in Canada to observe the people who make our country the envy of the world. Just to the south is the site of the original Regent Park housing project, home to some of the most economically-challenged of the city’s residents. (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: How the Liberals and the CRA ended up angering two million store clerks

The Liberals have invested $1 billion in the last two budgets to crack down on tax cheats. But it’s probably fair to say that no one in government expected the tax-avoidance measures to target minimum wage store employees who get a 20 per cent discount on a pair of jeans, or restaurant workers coming off shift who get a meal at the end of the night. (National Post)

Stephen Gordon: Liberals' tax strategy ignores growing but marginalized population

We’re almost two years into his government’s first mandate, but I keep thinking back to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s speech at the Liberal Party of Canada’s 2014 party conference, the one in which he set out the theme of a government focused on the middle class. Trudeau spoke of the concerns of “Nathalie,” an imaginary member of the middle class, earning what was at the time the median income of roughly $40,000 a year. As an economist, the fact that Nathalie wasn’t a real person doesn’t bother me: we use stylized fictions to make a point all the time. To be sure, parts of Nathalie’s story didn’t ring true — for example, her concerns about stagnant incomes didn’t square with the fact that her real purchasing power had been increasing for the past decade or so — but it was a compelling narrative all the same. (National Post)

James Wallace: Don't be surprised by Liberal taxation hypocrisy

On the heels of pummelling small business with higher taxes, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals backed away Tuesday from targeting a new category of apparent cheats — low-income retail workers. This latest Liberal tax mess comes courtesy of a plan by the Canada Revenue Agency to tax employee discounts. (Toronto Sun)

Aaron Wudrick: Discount tax an attack on low-wage workers: CTF

When will it ever be enough? As Canadians were sitting down for their turkey dinners over the weekend, news broke that the CRA had issued new guidelines decreeing that employee discounts are now taxable. Apparently, getting 20% off the pastel pantsuit you have to wear at work or saving a couple of bucks on your fast-food combo meal made you a juicy target in the eyes of the taxman. (Toronto Sun)



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