True North Initiative News Scan 11 07 2017


Ralph Goodale calls on border police to expand alternatives to detention

Canada’s border police have begun negotiations with two non-governmental organizations to support the release of immigration detainees to the community. Starting next spring, the Salvation Army and John Howard Society are expected to join the Toronto Bail Program in providing “supervision and case management services” to immigration detainees, which could lead to fewer long-term detentions. The announcement, part of a formal directive by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to the Canada Border Services Agency, comes in the wake of an ongoing Star investigation into Canada’s immigration detention system, by which thousands of people are indefinitely detained every year — often in maximum-security jails — without charge. (Toronto Star) (CBC)

Opposition accuses Liberals of protecting friends, other ‘big fish’ named in Paradise Papers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government will continue cracking down on tax evasion after another massive leak of offshore financial records, but the presence of the top Liberal fundraiser in the "Paradise Papers" fuelled attacks over his links with one of Canada's richest families. During Question Period, Mr. Trudeau said the Canada Revenue Agency will look into all Canadian cases in the leaked documents, while refusing to comment on the allegations touching Stephen Bronfman, the Liberal Party of Canada's chief fundraiser. (Globe and Mail) (IPolitics) (CBC)

Ex-PM Chrétien lobbied for African oil company he didn't know was based in tax haven, he says

Former Canadian prime minister Jean Chrétien lobbied for an East African oil venture whose business involved money flowing to tax havens, a notorious Australian fraudster and the lure of billions of barrels of crude, according to the latest major leak of offshore financial documents. But in a twist befitting the often murky world of tax havens, Chrétien says he thought the company was based in Houston and never knew it was actually incorporated in Bermuda. (CBC)

Ottawa's 'Stateless Man' arrested in police raid

Budlakoti, convicted of drug and gun trafficking in 2010, he’s also known as the “Stateless Man”, after he was ordered deported after his run-ins with the law. Born in Canada in 1989 when his parents worked at the Indian High Commission in Ottawa, the government still doesn’t consider Budlakoti a Canadian citizen. Canadian government rules state when children are born to diplomatic staff working in Canada, it does not make them Canadian citizens. India has told Budlakoti he’s not welcome there either, so the 28 year old has been fighting for years to stay in Canada. (CTV)

Losing a war criminal in Canada’s access to information system

Nearly four years ago, Maclean’s tracked down a fugitive: Dragan Djuric, a suspected Serbian war criminal. At the time, his mug shot was one of dozens featured on an FBI-style “Wanted” list launched by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)—a Stephen Harper-era initiative aimed at flushing out illegal immigrants who vanished before they could be deported. A failed refugee claimant who supposedly disappeared in the early 2000s, Djuric’s trail had gone cold after the border agency said it exhausted every last lead in his file. Maclean’s managed to find him in a matter of a few weeks, thanks to some obvious clues left behind in his Federal Court records. Living in Slovenia—not somewhere in Canada, as Ottawa believed—Djuric was actually quite happy to talk to a reporter, anxious to prove he wasn’t hiding at all. (Macleans)

Honduran man denied refugee status after failing to convince immigration officials he’s gay

A Honduran man is set to be deported Tuesday after he failed to convince Canadian immigration officials to grant him refugee status on the basis of his sexuality. Josue Elvir arrived in Toronto four years ago on a visa and applied for refugee status, arguing that his life is under threat in Honduras because he is gay. But his application was denied in 2016 after the Refugee Protection Division ruled that he was not gay. (Global)

Trudeau travels to Vietnam with history, human rights and trade top of mind

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives in Vietnam today for a two-day state visit ahead of the APEC summit, only the second such meeting between the two country's leaders since the end of war and the normalization of relations. It is a bilateral relationship undeniably defined by the Vietnam war as Canada's peripheral involvement in that U.S.-led conflict left an indelible mark on the national psyche. (CBC)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

'Hero' Abbotsford police officer dead after strip-mall shootout

An Abbotsford family, a police department and a community are in mourning after an officer was killed during a shootout at an Abbotsford strip mall Monday. The slain officer, who hasn’t been identified, was hailed as a hero among heroes by Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich. “The officer who gave his life today is a hero,” said Rich. “He was protecting this community.” (National Post)

British-Canadian couple fear son tortured in Syria, plead for Canada's help securing release

A British-Canadian couple is pleading with the Canadian and U.K. governments for help getting their son out of a prison in Kurdish-held northern Syria. Jack Letts, a Muslim convert from Oxford, England, has been imprisoned since May. His father, John Letts, originally from Pain Court, Ont., said his 21-year-old son claimed he was being tortured when he and his British wife, Sally Lane, last spoke to him. (CBC)

Canada leads calls for development funding in bid to boost UN Security Council chances

Speaking to The Globe and Mail, Canadian ambassador to the United Nations Marc-André Blanchard said he and his Jamaican counterpart Courtenay Rattray are heading up a group of 60 countries focused on obtaining more private-sector capital, through channels such as pension, private equity and insurance funds, to help meet the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs call on countries to adopt 17 sustainable-development goals focused on ending poverty, fighting inequality and tackling climate change over the next 13 years (Globe and Mail)

PMO names members of new national security committee

The government named today the 11 MPs and senators who will serve as the first appointees to the new national security committee of parliamentarians. In a press release Monday afternoon, the Prime Minister’s Office announced the appointment of three senators and eight MPs; some of the names were widely anticipated, while others came as something of a surprise. (IPolitics)

Chinese firm registers to lobby feds for Aecon acquisition approval

The massive Chinese-owned construction company which recently signed a deal to acquire Aecon Group Inc. — Canada’s largest publicly-traded construction and infrastructure company — has registered a lobbyist to help get regulatory approval for the arrangement. Elizabeth Roscoe of Hill+Knowlton Strategies registered with the federal lobby registry at the end of October on behalf of Hong Kong-based CCCC International Holding Ltd., which is poised to dish out $1.5 billion for the acquisition. (IPolitics)

Upcoming byelections to provide glimpse of 2019's decisive battlegrounds

The 2019 federal election will likely be decided by voters in the suburbs in and around Toronto and Vancouver. What those voters might be thinking will be hinted at in two of the four federal byelections called for Dec. 11. On Sunday, the Liberals announced that byelections would take place next month in the ridings of Battlefords–Lloydminster (Saskatchewan), Bonavista–Burin–Trinity (Newfoundland and Labrador), Scarborough–Agincourt (Ontario) and South Surrey–White Rock (British Columbia). (CBC)

More immigrants on P.E.I. leads to economic growth

Immigration’s powerful impact on P.E.I.’s population growth is also having a strong economic effect especially in the province’s housing market, says a director in the province’s finance department. Nigel Burns, director of economics, statistics and federal fiscal relations, said the province is now hoping to continue the trend with a goal to grow the population to 160,000 by 2022. (Journal Pioneer)

Woman impulsively flips off Donald Trump while riding her bike and ends up fired for it

Juli Briskman’s protest aimed at the presidential motorcade that roared past her while she was on her usual cycling ride in Northern Virginia last month became an instantly viral photo. Turns out it has now cost the 50-year-old marketing executive her job. (National Post)

Texas shooting: US Air Force 'failed' to flag gunman's criminal history

The US Air Force has said it is investigating its apparent failure to enter information about Texas gunman Devin Patrick Kelley's criminal history into the national database. Ex-airman Kelley was court-martialled for domestic violence in 2012, and was barred from owning or buying guns. (BBC)

Secret Service: Man who reportedly traveled to DC to kill 'all white police' at White House arrested

A Dallas man who reportedly traveled to the nation’s capital for the purpose of killing “all white police” at the White House was arrested, according to the Secret Service. The Secret Service says its Protective Intelligence Division was notified at around 2:55 p.m. Monday by the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland to be on the lookout for Michael Arega. (Fox DC)

In Seoul, Trump calls for North Korea to make a deal

In a striking shift of tone, President Donald Trump abandoned his aggressive rhetoric toward North Korea on Tuesday, signaling a willingness to negotiate as he urged Pyongyang to “come to the table” and “make a deal.” Trump, in his first day on the Korean Peninsula, again pushed Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program, but sidelined apocalyptic threats for an optimistic note, saying confidently, if vaguely, that “ultimately, it’ll all work out.” And while he said the United States would use military force if needed, he expressed his strongest inclination yet to deal with rising tensions with Pyongyang through diplomacy. (AP News) (BBC)

Donald Trump praises Saudi Arabia purge on Twitter: ‘they know exactly what they are doing’

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday endorsed a move by Saudi Arabia’s future king that tightened his grip on power through the arrests of royals, ministers and investors in an anti-corruption purge. The endorsement cemented a U.S.-Saudi relationship that has improved dramatically under Trump‘s presidency, partly because of both leaders’ vision of confronting Riyadh‘s arch-rival Iran more aggressively in the region (Global)

Yazidis in Iraq: 'The genocide is ongoing'

Khanke camp, northern Iraq - Wahda cannot sleep. During the day, she and her husband are busy caring for their 10 daughters and two sons inside Khanke camp for displaced Iraqis, located in the country's north. It is at night that the memories come. "I stay awake just thinking, and I'm so angry I can't sleep," Wahda, 41, told Al Jazeera. "I want to take revenge for my daughters." (Al Jazeera)



Mark Bonokoski: On our 11th hour of the 11th day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will likely be asleep

One should not visit the sins of the father upon the son, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is now off to Vietnam, flying there in the slipstream of U.S. President Donald Trump’s own trip. This means Trudeau will not be at the War Memorial in Ottawa on Saturday, or placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, when our world stops for a few brief moments on Remembrance Day to honour the sacrifices made by past and present generations to ensure the freedoms we enjoy today. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: One rule for Liberals, another for rest of us

For champions of the middle-class, Canada’s federal Liberals sure seem to have little in common with average people. Over the weekend, a large dump of documents called the Paradise Papers revealed the top fundraiser for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals is listed among the thousands of names connected to offshore accounts and firms. (Toronto Sun)

Michael Bonner: History proves that communism kills

The Russian Revolution began one hundred years ago. On the night of November 7-8, Bolshevik insurgents stormed the Tsar’s winter palace, and toppled the first democratic government in Russian history. This was the foundation of the world’s first major socialist regime. The ideology of communism soon spread throughout the world. It was the most destructive doctrine and most evil political system in human history. (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: How Andrew 'Icebox' Scheer might win over millennials by tackling climate change

Maybe the new Conservative leader just needs a nickname to make him sound tougher and more charismatic. How about “Icebox” or Andrew “Interesting” Scheer? A new poll by Abacus Data suggests Scheer has some catching up to do with Justin Trudeau. (National Post)

Chantal Hebert: Denis Coderre’s stunning defeat a message to Montreal’s elites

To understand Denis Coderre’s stunning mayoral defeat at the hands of Valérie Plante, a city councillor unknown to most Montrealers only a few months ago, it is useful to turn the clock back four years to the happier 2013 night of his first and only municipal victory. Even back then, the former federal Liberal minister was widely unloved. He took the mayor’s office with less than one in three votes. Had opposition not split three ways, Coderre might never have become mayor. (Toronto Star)



-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet later today to get a Briefing on the Resettlement Issues related to Yezidi Women and Girls

-       Standing Committee on National Defence meet tomorrow to discuss Canada’s involvement in NATO

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security meet later today to study Indigenous People in the Correctional System

-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet later today to study Bill C-47, the Situation in Eastern Europe, and Canada’s Development Finance Initiative