True North Initiative News Scan 11 08 17


Canadians sour on immigration according to government survey

When he announced the federal strategy of ramping up the number of immigrants to Canada over the next three years, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen described it as what Canadians wanted and needed — especially with governments around the world closing their doors to immigrants and refugees. It was a subtle jab at the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has cracked down on immigration in the name of the “America First” sentiment that got him elected a year ago Tuesday. But over the course of those 12 months, Canadian views on immigration appear to have shifted in that same direction, according to the survey the federal government carries out each year as part of its immigration planning process. (Canoe) (News 1130) (IPolitics) (Toronto Star)

Britain's 'Jihadi Jack' could end up in Canadian hands after months in the custody of Kurdish militias

Now it is possible Letts – who actually came to vehemently oppose the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, according to his parents – could end up in the hands of Canadian authorities. Though rarely mentioned in British media, the 20-year-old is a joint U.K.-Canadian citizen, and once even had a Canadian passport. (National Post) (Peterborough Examiner)

UN official tells Trudeau Canada can do more for refugees

The UN’s high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi says he told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during their meeting Monday afternoon that Canada is a “real role model” in terms of supporting refugees, but Canada can do even more. “He personally has really advocated very strongly and effectively and we want this to continue. I told him I need that,” said Grandi in an interview with iPolitics at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees [UNHCR] office in Ottawa Monday evening. Grandi said he and Trudeau discussed the plight of Rohingya Muslim refugees, the possibility of Rohingyas staying in Bangladesh for an extended period of time, and Canada’s newly announced immigration levels. (IPolitics) (National Observer)

Stateless Ottawa man facing 83 gun charges after OPP raid

An Ottawa man who has been fighting for years to become a Canadian citizen has been charged with 83 gun-related offences after Ontario Provincial Police carried out multiple raids in the National Capital Region this week.  Court filings show Deepan Budlakoti is accused of possessing several high-powered firearms, including semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic handguns, machine guns and several rounds of ammunition. (CBC)

Fewer than 5 Yazidi survivors have accessed individualized trauma counselling in Canada

Fewer than five Yazidi survivors of rape, torture and sexual slavery at the hands of ISIS have accessed one-on-one trauma counselling through federal assistance, according to immigration officials. MPs on the immigration committee are receiving briefings this week on Canada's special program to bring 1,200 Yazidis and other survivors of ISIS by the end of the year. Officials confirmed the government is on track to meet its target, and that 81 per cent of the 807 people resettled so far are Yazidi. (CBC) (IPolitics) (Toronto Star)

ISIS adept at fooling young recruits, Montreal terror trial told

After having heard from several witnesses since mid-September in the jury trial of Sabrine Djermane, 21, and El Mahdi Jamali, 20, prosecutor Lyne Décarie declared on Tuesday that the Crown’s evidence is “essentially closed.” The prosecution has no more witnesses or documents to present, she said, but there were a few clarifications to make. With that announcement, Superior Court Justice Marc David asked the jury to leave the courtroom for a few minutes. When they returned David said the four defence lawyers who have represented the accused will be given two days to reflect on whether they will present a defence. (Montreal Gazette)


A former Guantánamo Bay detainee is suing the Canadian government for $50 million for complicity in the abuse he suffered in the U.S. military prison. Djamel Ameziane, an Algerian who lived in Canada for several years, was not charged with a crime during his 11-year incarceration at the facility and has denied links to terrorism. He was released in 2013. In the lawsuit filed in Ottawa, Ontario, Monday, he seeks $40 million ($50 million Canadian) damages from the Canadian government, alleging that it was involved in his detention. (Newsweek) (Edmonton Journal) (BBC)

Government official held secret meetings, gave advice to pro-tax haven lobby group

In April, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released its first global exposé detailing secret offshore bank accounts of hundreds of wealthy elites. Only months later, then-U.K. prime minister David Cameron announced he would force shell companies to divulge their real owners. It was a one-two punch: bad press and a threat to the secrecy tax havens rely on. (Toronto Star)

Quebec's face-covering law heads for constitutional challenge

Civil liberties advocates have launched a legal challenge over the constitutionality of Quebec's face-covering ban, arguing it "directly infringes on the freedom of religion of individuals." The law passed last month requires people to uncover their face to receive public services under certain circumstances. The legal challenge, filed Tuesday in Quebec Superior Court, contests a section of the province's religious neutrality law under both Quebec's Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (CBC)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Calgary MP pushing for Canada to admit more Yazidi refugees

As of the end of last month, more than 800 survivors of violence at the hands of Islamic militants had arrived in Canad, but a Calgary MP says that’s not enough. Immigration officials told a House of Commons committee Tuesday morning that 81 per cent are Yazidi, a minority sect from northern Iraq. The ethnic and religious minorities have been targeted by extremists, and Calgary-Nosehill representative Michelle Rempel said they were not included in the Liberal’s Syrian refugee initiative. (660 News)

Garnett Genuis: The 2017 Parliamentarian of the Year

Of the 10 recipients of the prize since its inception, he is, by more than a decade, the youngest. He has the least parliamentary experience—like nearly 200 other MPs, he was elected for the first time in the bumper rookie crop of 2015. He has the lowest rank in his party’s hierarchy: where previous recipients were cabinet ministers, senior critics and even leaders of their parties, Genuis, a 30-year-old Conservative from the Edmonton-area riding of Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan, is his party’s deputy critic for foreign affairs. (Macleans)

Foreign students claim they were misled about chances of staying in Canada

Dozens of foreign students claim they were misled about the chance to extend their stays in Canada, and are now struggling with looming deadlines for when they could be forced to leave the country. Migrante Alberta, an immigrant advocacy group, says about 80 students enrolled at a private college in Edmonton over the past two years, thinking they could apply for a post-graduate work permit after completing a two-year diploma. (CBC)

New immigration program helping Canada in the global war for high-tech talent

A pilot program that makes it easier for highly skilled foreign tech workers to find jobs in Canada has hooked more than 1,600 people in its first two and a half months, CBC News has learned. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada launched the two-year project in June to help companies that need to bring in talent quickly so their businesses can expand. (CBC)

Influx of newcomers leads to some crowded P.E.I. classrooms

Schools in Charlottetown and Stratford are understaffed and many classes are too large, says P.E.I.'s Teachers' Federation, and it's calling on the province for better planning. There are 375 newcomer students in those schools that weren't predicted and planned for in the spring, when the Public Schools Branch laid out the number of teaching positions for each school, the federation said. (CBC)

Most Canadians don’t really know much about Canada’s cyberspy agency

There was a time when the Communications Security Establishment didn’t want people to know it even existed. The 70-year-old cyberspy agency is now trying to emerge from the shadows, but a newly released survey suggests it is still little known to Canadians. On an unaided basis, just three per cent of respondents correctly named “CSE” or the “Communications Security Establishment” as the government agency responsible for intercepting and analyzing foreign communications and helping protect the government’s computer networks, the survey report says. (Global)

No need for national security review of Aecon takeover, China's ambassador says

China's ambassador to Canada says there is no need for a national security review of a Chinese firm's $1.5-billion bid to take over Canadian construction giant Aecon. "The technology from the Chinese side is much higher than the Canadian side... it is not necessary for them [the Chinese government] to steal the technologies from Canadian companies," Ambassador Lu Shaye told reporters in Halifax through an interpreter today. Lu described the proposed deal as a "very normal business transaction," saying it does not involve "military technologies," and therefore Canada does not need to conduct an additional review. (CBC)

Senator accuses CRA of doing little to fight offshore tax evasion

About one-fifth of a group of wealthy Canadians who took part in a federal government survey last year didn't believe that a proposed advertising campaign about a federal crackdown on tax cheats would do anything to deter people from using overseas tax havens. There was a similar response from "high net worth" respondents who took part in the survey, conducted last December but released only recently. About one quarter of respondents didn't believe that the Canada Revenue Agency ads would deter people from taking part in the underground economy. (CTV)

Portnov's complaint: Ukrainian man takes Chrystia Freeland to court over sanctions

After trying seven times to get the Canadian global affairs minister to remove his name from a list of foreigners subject to economic sanctions, a Ukrainian man is taking legal action in Canada’s federal court. Andriy Portnov, who served under Viktor Yanukovych before the Ukrainian president was ousted from power amid 2014 anti-government protests, remains on a list of former officials sanctioned by the Canadian government. Today he is a lawyer working in Austria. (National Post)

Rohingya refugee crisis: Inside the no-man's land between Myanmar and Bangladesh

Tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled their homes amid the horrific violence in Myanmar to seek refuge in Bangladesh have been halted steps away from safety, trapped in a squalid stateless no-man’s land at the centre of a rapidly escalating humanitarian crisis. Since late August, more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims and other minorities have chosen a bleak and uncertain future in a foreign land to escape what the United Nations has called a case of “textbook ethnic cleansing,” and “the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.” (CTV) (Angus Reid)

While apathetic to Myanmar crisis, Canadians support revoking Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary citizenship: study

As the Liberal government intensifies its diplomatic and humanitarian response to the crisis affecting Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya minority, Canadians are largely uninformed about ongoing events and less than enthusiastic about Ottawa’s further involvement, according to a new study from the Angus Reid Institute. Fewer than one-in-ten (8 per cent) Canadians say they have been following the story closely, while another one-in-four (26 per cent) have seen some coverage, said Shachi Kurl, executive director at the Angus Reid Institute. (Radio Canada)

Filipino doctor accused of financing ISIS-inspired terror attacks in New York City

A Filipino doctor accused by U.S. authorities of plotting attacks in New York City, including Times Square, appeared in a Manila court Tuesday. Russell Salic smiled as he was led away in handcuffs by government agents after his brief appearance at the Manila court that is handling a U.S. extradition request, which he and his lawyer vowed to fight. (Daily Mail)

Donald Trump warns North Korea: 'Do not try us'

US President Donald Trump has issued a blunt warning to North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un in an address to South Korea's parliament. "Do not underestimate us. Do not try us," he said, while also condemning the "dark fantasy" of life in the North. He addressed Mr Kim saying "the weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer", and urged other nations to join forces to stop Pyongyang. (BBC) (Daily Mail)

Trump lands in China for talks with Xi amid N Korea tensions

US President Donald Trump has landed in China for talks likely to be dominated by tensions over North Korea. His arrival came after a speech to the South Korean parliament in which Mr Trump urged China to further isolate North Korea. The White House sees China as pivotal in reigning in the North's nuclear aims but Beijing says it is doing enough. (BBC)



Lorne Gunter: Trudeau needs to fight this Khadr copycat lawsuit

A lawsuit filed Monday in an Ontario court by an Edmonton lawyer representing an Algerian national, will be an even greater test of the Trudeau government’s sanity than was the government’s ludicrous $10.5-million settlement this past summer of a similar lawsuit initiated by Omar Khadr. At least Khadr was a citizen. Djamel Ameziane was never more than a refugee claimant who lived temporarily in Montreal nearly 20 years ago. (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: Liberals braced for another ’huge wave’ of illegal asylum seekers from U.S.

You have to feel sorry for the 300,000 Central Americans and Haitians in the United States covered by temporary protected status, who look likely to be deported in the next year or so. The Trump Administration said Tuesday Nicaraguan nationals must leave by January 2019, and that it is seeking additional information on whether to end TPS designation for Hondurans. The writing would also appear to be on the wall for 50,000 Haitians, who see their protected status end in January, and 200,000 El Salvadoreans, who lose their status next March. (National Post)

Dr Charles Shaver: New health care revenues needed

According to Candice Malcolm (Winnipeg Sun, Sept 30, 2017), 32,000 illegal migrants have entered Canada so far this year. Welfare benefits are $20,000 per person annually. Ottawa is fast-tracking work permit approvals. Social supports remain the responsibility of the provinces and territories. Also consider that 280,000 Salvadorans plus others from Central America and Africa face possible deportation from the U.S. in the next few months. If many attempt to come to Canada, what will be the cost to taxpayers? (Winnipeg Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: Where's Trudeau's campaign against offshore tax dodgers?

Of the many poses Justin Trudeau has adopted since becoming prime minister, his performance as the defender of “tax fairness” for the middle class has been the most laughable. Until it blew up in their faces, Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau spent weeks portraying small business owners across Canada as corporate fatcats, whom they accused of unfairly taking advantage of tax laws to avoid paying their fair share of the income taxes decent, hard-working, middle-class Canadians pay. (Toronto Sun)



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

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

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security meet tomorrow for Supplementary Estimates (B) 2017-18