True North Initiative: News Scan 10 20 17


New data show 69% of illegal border-crossers are being granted asylum

Since January, The RCMP have intercepted more than 15,100 people entering through unguarded border entry points from the United States, after President Donald Trump came into power and issued a series of executive orders to expedite deportation of foreign nationals and ban immigration from certain countries. Of the 10,790 asylum claims received from March to September of this year, the refugee board has processed 592, or 5.4 per cent. Of those claims 69 per cent, or 408 cases, were granted asylum, while 141 were rejected. Forty-three other claims were either abandoned or withdrawn. (Toronto Star)

Canada Welcomed Refugees, but Now Struggles With Backlog

A wave of asylum seekers entering Canada this year has exacerbated a backlog of refugee claims that the government is struggling to manage, leaving tens of thousands of people stuck in bureaucratic limbo even as they try to build new lives. Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board says it has a backlog of 40,700 cases. More than 10,000 asylum seekers have crossed illegally into Quebec from the United States since July alone. But the board has the money and staff to process just 24,000 cases a year, meaning that many people will have to wait around 16 months for their case to be heard. (NY Times)

Mike Chernyk, Edmonton officer who fought off terrorist, back on duty

A police officer stabbed outside an Edmonton football game after being mowed down by a car is back on duty, while a woman later struck by the driver of a U-Haul truck being pursued by authorities remains in hospital, says the city's police chief. "That's something he wanted to do the day after the incident — he wanted to get right back to work," Police Chief Rod Knecht said Thursday of Const. Mike Chernyk. (Canoe)

Edmonton Terrorist’s Movements Highlight Threat to US Southern Border

Fears about terrorists using the US-Mexican border as a gateway for an attack may have been realized. Evidence shows that Somali Edmonton terrorist Abdulahi Hasan Sharif crossed the US-Mexican border from Tijuana into San Diego at the San Ysidro border crossing on July 12, 2011. (Algemeiner)

CIA chief says U.S.-Canadian couple held for five years in Pakistan – not Afghanistan

The head of the CIA said on Thursday a U.S.-Canadian couple kidnapped by Islamist militants in Afghanistan were held inside neighboring Pakistan for five years before being freed. “We had a great outcome last week when we were able to get back four U.S. citizens who had been held for five years inside of Pakistan,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo told the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank in Washington. (Reuters)

Morneau says he will put his assets in a blind trust

Finance Minister Bill Morneau says he will put his personal assets in a blind trust and divest himself of his family business shares, amid conflict of interest allegations. Morneau has insisted that he followed all the rules and the recommendations of the federal ethics commissioner when he came into office. He said he believes that doing so has helped him avoid conflicts of interest, but amid growing controversy over his assets, he realized that he needs to “do more.” (CTV)

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has been getting at least $65K a month from firm he regulates

It’s going to be a happy Hallowe’en for finance minister Bill Morneau. Morneau Shepell Inc., the Toronto-based financial services and consulting firm founded by Morneau’s family, declared a dividend this morning of 6.5 cents per share, payable Oct. 31. Morneau on Thursday said he holds “about a million shares”  in Morneau Shepell Inc. (MSI) which means his Hallowe’en treat from the firm which bears his name will be worth $65,000. (Global)

Liberals drop capital-gains tax proposal amid family farm concerns

The Liberal government is dropping one of the three key elements of its controversial small-business tax proposals in response to farmers' concerns that it would harm the ability to pass on the family farm to the next generation. Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay made the announcement at a farm in the small eastern Ontario town of Erinsville. (Globe and Mail)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

New to Canada, struggling to find work

Armed with PhDs and a wealth of experience, Shereen Shokry and Humayun Kabir immigrated to Toronto from Egypt with hopes of picking up where they left off in their careers. They soon faced a common challenge for newcomers to Canada: Getting jobs in the fields they are highly qualified for in other countries. Today, Dr. Shokry, 43, and Dr. Kabir, 40, are back working in the education system, thanks to a special George Brown College bridging program for internationally trained professionals that prepares them to teach in Canadian colleges. (Globe and Mail)

Conditional sentences aren’t jail time in immigration law: Supreme Court

As a Canadian author of South Asian origin and exposed to liberal Sunni Muslim ideals, it is my responsibility to actively denounce the invasion of orthodox misogyny into my country, Canada. This two-decade-old creeping rot which is threatening to alter the social fabric of a nation is now being encouraged by Canadian media to duck for cover under the diversity debates umbrella. (Global)


Jewish groups were in Ottawa on Oct. 18 to testify in front of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, which will make policy recommendations on M-103, a motion that condemns “Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.” (CJ News)

Trudeau pens letter to Amazon founder pitching Canada as home for new headquarters

As Canadian cities compete with each other – and dozens of jurisdictions south of the border – for Amazon’s new $five-billion headquarters, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pitched Canada to the company’s founder. In a letter addressed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Trudeau makes a general case why any prospective Canadian suitors could prove attractive as the retail behemoth’s next corporate home. (Global)

‘Charismatic’ and ‘Modern’ or ‘Arrogant’ and ‘Flaky’? Canadians weigh in on the Trudeau Brand

Justin Trudeau’s public persona – the selfie-taking, magazine-cover-gracing, colourful-sock-wearing, global celebrity Prime Minister – has been an integral part of his Liberal Party’s first two years in government. As much as any policy, Brand Trudeau is what comes to mind when thinking about Canada’s government these days. (Angus Reid)

How other federal cabinet ministers have managed their assets

As CTV News reported yesterday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau continues to own shares in his family’s business Morneau Shepell through a corporate structure that keeps him from having to divest or put his shares in a blind trust. This is in contrast with 10 current members of the federal cabinet who divested their holdings, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (CTV)

New Zealand PM-elect Jacinda Ardern focuses on final touches of coalition deal

New Zealand Prime Minister-elect Jacinda Ardern said she would spend Friday ironing out issues and ministerial posts with coalition partner New Zealand First, one day after becoming the Pacific nation's youngest leader in more than 150 years. (Globe and Mail)

What happens to Syria after we clean out ISIS?


This Is What Victory Over ISIS Looks Like

The declarations of victory played out across Iraq and Syria: The long campaigns to retake city after city from Islamic State militants had come to an end. (NY Times)

Internet giants attend G7 summit for first time as world takes fight to extremists online

The world’s major internet companies are attending a G7 summit for the first time, in an urgent attempt to draw up tough new rules to counter the dramatic rise in the use of social media by terrorists. These talks with multinationals at the meeting, which began today in Italy, come amid deep concern that the volume of Islamist traffic on tech platforms will increase even more, as Isis tries to compensate for its defeat in Syria and Iraq by instigating attacks in the West online. (Independent)

US drone strike targets al-Shabab after deadly Somalia attack

The U.S. military said Friday it carried out a drone strike this week against al-Shabab in Somalia, shortly after the extremist group was blamed for the country’s deadliest attack. The strike occurred Monday about 35 miles (56 kilometres) southwest of the capital, Mogadishu, the U.S. Africa Command told The Associated Press. The U.S. said it was still assessing the results. (Global)

Obama and Bush decry deep US divisions without naming Trump

Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush have voiced concern about the current political climate in the US, in comments seen as a veiled rebuke of Donald Trump's leadership. Mr Obama urged Americans to reject the politics of "division" and "fear", while Mr Bush criticised "bullying and prejudice" in public life. (BBC)

Kirkuk province: Iraqi and Kurdish forces in fierce fight

There have been fierce clashes between Kurdish and Iraqi troops north of Kirkuk city, days after the Iraqi army took control of disputed areas. A BBC correspondent at the scene said there had been rocket, artillery and machine-gun fire in Alton Kupri. (BBC)

CIA chief: North Korea 'on cusp' of nuclear capability

CIA director Mike Pompeo has warned that North Korea is on the cusp of being able to hit the US with a nuclear missile. He stressed Washington still preferred diplomacy and sanctions but said military force remained an option. North Korea claims it already has the capability to strike the US. (BBC)

Fewest Jobless Claims Since 1973 Show Firm U.S. Job Market

Filings for unemployment benefits plunged last week to the lowest level since 1973 as workers affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma continued to return to their jobs, Labor Department figures showed Thursday. (Bloomberg)



Mark Bonokoski: The unrelatable quandary of richy-rich Bill Morneau

When Jim Flaherty was Canada’s finance minister under the Harper government, there was no controversy over his wealth or demands that he put everything in a blind trust. He was more one of us than he was one of them — “them” being heirs to fortunes like Justin Trudeau, or wealthy beyond imagination like his finance minister, Bill Morneau. (Toronto Sun)

Farzana Hassan: Scrapping the term Islamophobia from M103 is the best path forward

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage met again on Oct. 16 to debate M103, the anti-Islamophobia motion introduced by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid. There was a semblance of civility at the committee meeting when I presented my case against the motion, along with two other witnesses. Perhaps the committee had learned that respect is crucial to any dialogue after fellow Toronto Sun columnist Tarek Fatah was treated contemptuously at the September 20 meeting. (Toronto Sun)

Nazneen Sheikh: Men making women hide

New information reveals how an alleged terrorist manipulated our immigration system to gain entry and remain in North America. Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, the Somali national being detained after the recent Edmonton terror attack, managed to slip into Canada despite a complicated system of biometric checks designed to stop people just like him. In 2011, Canada implemented a biometric screening program designed to stop criminals and other dangerous individuals from entering Canada. (Toronto Sun)

Jonathan Kay: Jagmeet Singh needs to get it straight on the Air India bombing

Imagine for a moment if an American politician were asked about Osama Bin Laden, and her response was that she had no idea who was responsible for Sept. 11. She'd become instantly unelectable for dog catcher — no matter what her skin colour, or that of her interviewer. Even here in Canada, Sept. 11 conspiracy theorists have been forced out of politics, though the event was a primarily American tragedy. (CBC)

Houssem Ben Lazreg: How terrorists use propaganda to recruit lone wolves

It was a pleasant night in September and many Edmonton residents, knowing the long winter was just around the corner, didn’t want to miss a chance to enjoy a beautiful evening. The fun came to a tragic halt when five people, including a policeman, were injured following a terrorist attack that played out across the city. (Global) (National Post)

John Ivison: Secretive committee that holds House of Commons’ purse strings opens doors

Donald Savoie, the eminent governance expert, once called the House of Commons’ Board of Internal Economy “the most secretive committee that has ever existed — secretive even to its own MPs.” No longer. Fulfilling a Liberal campaign promise, the House’s governing body, which is chaired by the Speaker and comprises members of all recognized parties, is now open to public scrutiny. (National Post)

Don Martin: Despite damage control, Morneau’s reputation has taken a hit

When crisis communicators of the future need an example of a reputation-shredding failure to enact timely damage control, they will point to the Bill Morneau debacle. It took four days for the finance minister to act on the obvious - he was, at very least, distracted by a perceived conflict of interest by controlling a million shares in a company which could, and in at least one case would, benefit from his actions as finance minister. (CTV)

Konrad Yakabuski: The dark clouds behind Singh’s sunny ways

New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh has a fuzzy understanding of the right to self-determination. Either that, or the trained lawyer sees a political advantage in leaving his position on the right to secession, and the ease with which it can be exercised, open to interpretation as he courts Quebec and Sikh separatists in his bid to become prime minister. (Globe and Mail)




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