True North Initiative News Scan 11 20 2017


Morneau issue flagged for ethics czar weeks before she launched probe

Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson was warned as far back as September that Finance Minister Bill Morneau could be in a conflict of interest over a bill he was spearheading that benefits his family firm, but the federal watchdog didn't launch a formal examination until November when controversy over the matter had dominated the House of Commons for weeks. A group representing retired Canada Post workers hand-delivered a letter to Ms. Dawson's office on Sept. 18, outlining its concern about the Finance Minister's shares in Morneau Shepell and his involvement in drafting legislation to rewrite federal pension law. (Globe and Mail)

15,000 on Canada's deportation list, but some 'uncooperative' countries won't take their citizens back

More than 15,000 foreign nationals are on Canada's deportation list, but some can't be removed because their home country won't take them back. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) confirms some countries either delay or refuse to repatriate their citizens who are here illegally, but will not divulge which ones as it might "impact diplomatic negotiations." (CBC)

Windsor man sentenced related to indecent act at aquatic centre

A Windsor man has been sentenced in connection with an indecent act at the downtown aquatic centre. Hassan Al Hariri pleaded guilty last month to the May 2016 incident. The defence was asking for a conditional discharge for the 38-year old, but Justice Lloyd Dean didn't believe that would be in the public's best interest. Al Hariri is a 37-year-old Syrian refugee, who arrived in Canada just three months prior to this incident. (CTV)

Terror Suspect Mohamed Harkat Unlikely To Commit Violent Acts, Psychiatrist Says

A psychiatrist who has treated terror suspect Mohamed Harkat for the last eight years says the refugee from Algeria is unlikely to commit violent acts. Dr. Colin Cameron told a Federal Court of Canada hearing Friday on Harkat's release conditions that his patient supports democracy and expresses revulsion about terrorist attacks. (Huffington Post) (Toronto Star)

Australian publisher drops book on Chinese influence; author warns Canada is also at risk

Alarmed by creeping Chinese influence on Australian political life, Clive Hamilton set out to investigate. Businesses and people connected to China had already become the biggest foreign financial contributors to the country's political parties. But "it seemed to me there was much more going on" said Prof. Hamilton, a scholar at Charles Sturt University. He found much to write about – only to become, himself, the subject of China's efforts to promote its agenda around the world, after fears of retaliation by Beijing caused his publisher to back away from a book containing his findings. (Globe and Mail)

Venezuela is close to unleashing a Syria-like refugee crisis in Latin America

As Venezuela’s financially strangled dictatorship and the opposition prepare for a possible new round of talks Dec. 1 on whether they can agree on rules for credible 2018 presidential elections, there are reasons to fear that Venezuela’s collapse will escalate into a regional refugee crisis. Unless Western democracies step up their diplomatic and financial sanctions against President Nicolás Maduro’s regime over the next few weeks, there will be a bigger mass exodus of Venezuelans. Many U.S. and Latin American officials fear a Syria-like situation, in which millions more Venezuelans will flee to other Latin American countries, much like Syrian refugees have flooded European countries. (Miami Herald)

Canadian troops in Latvia warned their social media accounts and cell phones could be 'manipulated or misused'

Canadian troops in Latvia are being warned about their cell phones and social media accounts being co-opted, says NATO’s secretary general. Jens Stoltenberg said the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is aware of many reports a Russian disinformation campaign is attempting to sow doubt online about its intentions. (National Post)

Ottawa sets date for LGBTQ apology, but compensation not yet settled

Advocates for people criminally charged or fired from their government job simply because they were gay are celebrating news that, on Nov. 28, Justin Trudeau will deliver a historic apology in the House for their mistreatment. "I never thought I'd live to see the day," said Douglas Elliott, the lawyer who led a class-action lawsuit on behalf of those who lost their jobs. Mr. Elliott has been advocating for the rights of sexual minorities since the 1970s. (Globe and Mail)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Cpl. Nolan Caribou ID'ed as reservist who died on Manitoba Canadian Forces base

The Canadian Armed Forces has released the name of the soldier killed during a training exercise at an army base in Manitoba over the weekend. Cpl. Nolan Caribou, who was an infantryman with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, was killed at CFB Shilo, about 205 kilometres west of Winnipeg, around 7 p.m. Saturday. (CBC)

Canada's top general pushes back against critics of peacekeeping plan

Canada's top general is forcefully rejecting the notion that Canada's new peacekeeping commitment isn't in line with the Liberal government's initial promise. Gen. Jonathan Vance, Canada's Chief of Defence Staff, argues that the plan outlined days ago by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Vancouver is consistent with what was first discussed 14 months ago, when the government committed to providing up to 600 troops and 150 police officers for United Nations operations. (CBC)

Justin Trudeau set to head to China in December to open free trade talks

Justin Trudeau is expected to announce he is heading to Beijing early next month to launch free trade talks with China. The trip has not been finalized but diplomatic sources suggest he will head east in the first week of December. (National Post)

U.S. prop-up of coal is 'wrong,' but Canada will continue to export it: McKenna

While rebuking U.S. President Donald Trump's push to revive the coal power industry, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the federal government has no plans to shutter Canada's coal exports. "They have got it wrong," McKenna said in an interview with Evan Solomon, host of CTV's Question Period, of America’s commitment to fossil fuels. "We share a border with the U.S. but air doesn’t know any boundaries, water doesn’t know any boundaries," she said. Though, McKenna -- fresh off her trip to COP23 where she focused her attention on extolling the virtues of decommissioning coal -- said Canada has no plans to ban coal exports to the U.S. (CTV)

'Tears of joy' for Filipina caregiver who can be reunited with her children after 8-year wait

Jocelyn Godroy hardly ever smiled in the years since she left her three children in the Philippines in 2004 to work as a live-in caregiver abroad. After 13 agonizing years away from her family — during which her marriage broke down and her mother passed away, Godroy finally managed to put up a genuine smile earlier this month when she got her immigration papers after a final interview at the immigration office in Etobicoke. (Metro)

'Critical shortage' of daycare workers forecast after immigration error

Anna-Kay Clarke is cleaning clothes out of her dresser, hoping someone will buy the furniture she has posted to Kijiji. After being unable to legally work since October, she's trying to raise enough money to cover the rent on her Halifax apartment. Clarke is a trained early childhood educator who graduated in June from the private career college Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education in Halifax. (Yahoo)

Swing ridings with high visible minority populations will tilt 2019 federal election, says politicos

Some 41 “swing” ridings with visible minority populations of 50 per cent or more, including five constituencies in the Greater Toronto Area that have 80 per cent or more visible minorities, will be key battlegrounds for all major parties in the 2019 election, say politicos. “These ridings will elect the next government,” said rookie Conservative MP Bob Saroya (Markham-Unionville, Ont.) in an interview with The Hill Times. “These are the swing ridings.” (Hill Times)

Afghanistan looks to Canada for more training support

One of the leading figures in Afghanistan's national government insists his war-torn country must be put back at the forefront of NATO's efforts to defeat terrorist groups in the Middle East and South Asia. Abdullah Abdullah, the government's chief executive and one of the featured speakers this weekend at the Halifax International Security Forum, says the new NATO focus on Iraq left his country vulnerable to greater terrorist activity. (CBC)

Dozen of Liberians in US Face Deportation

Reports reaching Globe Afrique say about 200 Liberians are allegedly in prisons in the state of Minnesota, the USA awaiting deportation.  Four Liberians were deported yesterday, November 17, 2017, leaving behind young children. About 55 Liberians could be deported from Minnesota soon, according to unconfirmed sources. (GNN Liberia)

Charles Manson is rotting in hell

Charles Manson, the ’60s cult leader behind one of the most notorious killings in American history, died Sunday in California after a prolonged illness, officials said. He was 83. Manson – housed at Corcoran State Prison since 1989 – died at 8:13 p.m. local time at Kern County Hospital, the California Department of Corrections said in a press release early Monday. (NY Post)

Saudi Arabia vows to take on Iran amid warnings region in ‘a dangerous abyss’

Fears of World War 3 have increased in recent weeks amid a spiralling fallout between the Saudi monarchy and Tehran. It came following the surprise resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, a close ally of Riyadh. At an emergency meeting in Cairo today, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir stepped up his rhetoric against the Islamic regime. (



Candice Malcolm: Rick Mercer rant on GSAs is dishonest analysis

CBC comedian Rick Mercer jumped into an Alberta provincial debate, and in doing so, dragged the whole country in with him. In one of Mercer’s “rants,” he attempts to tackle the issue of gay-straight alliance (GSA) clubs in Alberta schools.  Unfortunately for Mercer, and for all Canadians, his rant was riddled with errors, partisan jeering and a dishonest analysis. To make matters worse for this once-great comedian, it wasn’t the least bit funny. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Kill them before they come home? Too un-Canadian

As the front line war against ISIS appears to be nearing its end, a British cabinet minister knows exactly what should be done with Britons who joined the barbarism and now want to come home. And that’s kill them before they set a foot back on British soil. (Toronto Sun)

Douglas Todd: High migration can suppress wages … in some places, some jobs

Critics counter that large numbers of immigrants and temporary workers “steal jobs” and reduce the wages of the host population. The truth, it is turning out, is somewhere in the middle. The answer to one of the most controversial political questions in Canada — does high in-migration depress wages? ­— is complicated. There is little doubt that Canadian politicians’ decision to create arguably the most open border in the world increases Canada’s gross domestic product, the total volume of goods and services. (Vancouver Sun)

Anthony Furey: A big test looms for lacklustre Ont. PC Leader Patrick Brown

Next weekend Ontario Progressive Conservative members will gather for their last big event before next year’s provincial election, the one where they hope to finally emerge victorious after 15 years of scandal-plagued Liberal rule. While talking together in the halls or huddled at social functions, both insiders and grassroots members will complain about one politician in particular – one who they fear goes along with the green agenda and won’t stand up for the small government principles that draw attendees to such an event in the first place. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Kersten: How should Canada handle criminals cloaked as refugees?

Two crises define the world today: the perpetration of mass atrocities against civilians, and the movement of peoples, often in direct response to those very same atrocities. This poses a distinct challenge for countries such as Canada that welcome refugees, some of whom may carry with them criminal pasts. It is not uncommon for perpetrators of atrocities to cloak themselves among refugees. Due to effective screening procedures, the number of war criminals amongst refugees is tiny. But they do sometimes slip through. When they do, they present an opportunity to achieve justice – and shouldn't be used to cast a pall of criminality over migrants. But how should governments approach this dilemma? (Globe and Mail)

Josh Rogin: The U.S. must prepare for Iran’s next move in Syria

While the Trump administration celebrates a new deal meant to freeze the battlefield in southern Syria, the Assad regime and Iran are preparing for the next phase of the long-running war, in which they will attempt to conquer the rest of the country. Whether Iran succeeds depends largely on whether the United States acknowledges and then counters that strategy. Tehran is pouring thousands of fighters into newly acquired territories and building military bases. Although U.S.-supported forces hold territories east of the Euphrates River in Syria’s southeast, as well as along the borders of Israel and Jordan in the southwest, Iran has stated its intention to help Bashar al-Assad retake all of Syria. (Washington Post)

Jonathan Montpetit: That time conservatives saved the planet from climate change

You'd be forgiven for a doing a double-take when noticing it is two conservative leaders who are responsible for the world's most successful environmental treaty, the Montreal Protocol, signed 30 years ago. Climate change skepticism, let alone downright denial, has become such a hallmark of contemporary conservatism in North America that the efforts of Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan in 1987 now seem like a historical anomaly. (CBC)



-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet tomorrow to study Bill C:47

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

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

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet later today to study the medical inadmissibility of immigrants