True North Initiative News Scan 11 21 2017


Canada on alert as U.S. announces end to temporary resident status for Haitians

A decision by the Trump administration to end a temporary residency permit program that has allowed almost 60,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States has the Canadian government on alert for a potential new surge of asylum seekers at the border. The Homeland Security Department said late Monday that conditions in Haiti have improved significantly, so the benefit will be extended one last time — until July 2019 — to give Haitians time to prepare to return home. (CBC) (Toronto Star) (BBC)

Trio of MPs wrap outreach in U.S. as decision looms on Haitian residents

A Thursday deadline for the Trump administration to decide whether to resume deportations to Haiti has the Canadian government on alert. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says he's hopeful Canada will get a heads up if the U.S. decides to remove temporary protected status for more than 50,000 Haitians living in the U.S. (CTV)

Conservatives slam Trudeau as soft on terror as push for security changes begins

The Opposition says it will not support the Liberal bill to overhaul national security, with Conservatives ripping Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government as soft on terrorists in the face of returning Daesh fighters. The political attack by the Conservatives came as parliamentary debate finally got underway on Bill C59 – a massive security package introduced by the Trudeau government to curb excesses of the Conservatives’ Anti-Terrorism Act of 2015. (Toronto Star) (Global)

Taliban captive reveals gang rape, beatings

Caitlan Coleman Boyle — held hostage for five years with her husband and three children by the Taliban — has broken her silence with a chilling tale of torture and gang rape. Coleman Boyle, 33, who’s married to Canadian Joshua Boyle, 34, told ABC News that some of her family’s guards “hated children” and had a particular grudge against her eldest son for being “too loud.” (Toronto Sun)

Canadian American family on surviving Taliban captivity: 'We tried to make it fun'

An American woman kidnapped in Afghanistan and held for five years said she and her Canadian husband did all they could to make captivity as fun as possible for their three children, concocting games out of garbage and teaching their eldest son British history to diminish his fears around beheadings. “We tried to make it fun for them, as best we could,” Caitlan Coleman, 31, told ABC News in an interview released on Monday. “We would just teach them to use things like bottle caps, or bits of cardboard – garbage essentially – but what we could find to play with, tell them these are toys, we can make a game with this.” (Guardian)

Canadian who plotted ISIS attack in New York taking antipsychotic drugs: documents

A Canadian awaiting sentencing for plotting terrorist attacks in New York City for the so-called Islamic State is being treated with antipsychotic drugs, according to a court transcript obtained by Global News. “I see a psychiatrist in the jail and I take the antipsychotic Geodon,” Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, a 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., told the judge at a U.S. District Court hearing two weeks ago. (Global)

Lawyers for Montreal couple accused of terrorism-related offences won't mount defence

Lawyers for the two Montrealers accused of terrorism-related offences have opted not to mount a defence in the case. Lawyers for Sabrine Djermane and El Mahdi Jamali told the jury Monday afternoon they would not call witnesses nor present any evidence. That means the case will proceed directly to final arguments, scheduled to begin Dec. 4. (CBC) (Montreal Gazette)

Some charges dropped against accused would-be terrorists

The criminal case against two Montrealers facing terror-related charges is drawing to a close. On Monday, as the Crown ended its case, a charge of facilitating a terrorist act was withdrawn Sabrine Djermane and El Mahdi Jamali still face three charges of attempting to leave Canada to commit a terrorist act, possession of explosives, and committing an act to profit a terrorist organization. (CTV)

Parents of alleged ISIS member 'Jihadi Jack' plead with Canadian MPs to help free him from Syria

The parents of a British-Canadian man held in Syria on charges he was an ISIL member are pleading with Canadian MPs to help free him, saying politicians here are now the Muslim convert’s best chance of staying alive. John Letts and Sally Lane wrote to every member of Parliament asking them to put pressure on the federal government to intervene in Jack Letts’ case, and provided a copy of the letter to the National Post. (National Post)

The Justin Trudeau Lovefest Gets a Reality Check

So far, Canada has largely avoided the kind of populist upheaval that put Donald Trump in the White House, undercut Chancellor Angela Merkel, and gave rise to Brexit. Much of the credit for this lands on Justin Trudeau, the buoyant 45-year-old heartthrob prime minister with a penchant for selfies and quirky socks who champions free trade and welcomes refugees. He’s cultivated an image of a tolerant, open, progressive Canada that, incidentally, boasts the strongest economic growth in the Group of Seven. (Bloomberg)

Morneau didn't seek clearance from ethics commissioner before introducing pension bill

Finance Minister Bill Morneau did not seek clearance from the federal ethics commissioner before he introduced pension-reform legislation that could benefit the firm founded by his father and in which he still owned one million shares. The minister's office says he did not need to seek permission – and that an "ethical screen" was in place to ensure he did not run afoul of conflict-of-interest rules, but NDP ethics critic Nathan Cullen said "alarm bells" should have been going off in his office. (Globe and Mail)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

What happens if Trudeau, ministers actually broke the law?

Mary Dawson has had no shortage of work to keep her busy this fall. The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, whose mandate has been extended twice, had spent most of her time in recent years toiling in relative obscurity. But she has recently been thrust into the national spotlight as she looks into potential rule-breaking by various members of the federal cabinet — including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself. On Monday, Dawson was back in the headlines as the House of Commons resumed after a week-long hiatus. (Global)

What Ottawans should look for in today's auditor general report

Almost two years into the Phoenix pay fiasco, the federal auditor general will release the first of two highly anticipated reports today, examining the genesis a of system that has left hundreds of thousands of government workers without proper pay. Auditor Michael Ferguson's report, which will cover a variety of issues from refugee resettlement to the management of crown corporations to CRA call centres, will be tabled in the House of Commons at 10 a.m. He'll discuss his findings at a news conference at 11 a.m. ET. (CBC)

Payroll problems, Syrian refugee resettlement are on auditor general's radar

Canada's spending watchdog will release his fall reports today, digging in to a range of issues from pay problems for public servants to resettlement services for Syrian refugees. Auditor General Michael Ferguson's six audits will be tabled in the House of Commons at 10 a.m. ET and he will discuss his findings at a news conference at 11 a.m. (CBC)

Man gets five years in jail for plotting to kill business partner, could be deported

A Winnipeg man could be sent back to his native Ethiopia after he received a five-year sentence for plotting to kill his business partner. During the trial of Amare Gebru, court heard that he bought a convenience store with a woman in 2011, but their relationship soured in a hurry. Gebru tried to convince a regular customer to kill the woman, but this customer told her of the plan, leading to Gebru’s arrest. (Global)

Remembering the Holodomor, 85 years after the start of the Ukrainian genocide

Mournful hymns echoed through the Legislative Building as members of Saskatchewan’s Ukrainian community gathered for a service in remembrance of the Holodomor. This imposed famine was orchestrated by the Joseph Stalin regime in 1932 and 1933. Ten million Ukranians lost their lives. “All the grain was taken and a lot of it was exported at below world prices at the time. So here he was exporting the grain out of Ukraine and the Ukrainians were starving,” Mary Ann Trischuk, Ukranian Canadian Congress Saskatchewan president said. (Global)

Trump's wall isn't the first barrier the U.S. has built to keep Mexicans out. How did the others work?

U.S. Border Patrol agent Saul Rocha navigates his Ford Explorer down a wide dirt road between two layers of fence that separate San Diego from Tijuana, Mexico. He points to patched holes in the steel wire mesh every few kilometres cut by illegal border-crossers using power saws, and a discarded homemade wire ladder curled at the base of the fence. (Globe and Mail)

Trump declares North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Monday the U.S. is putting North Korea's "murderous regime" on America's terrorism blacklist, despite questions about Pyongyang's support for international attacks beyond the assassination of its leader's half brother in February. Trump said the designation of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism was long overdue, and he promised a new wave of sanctions as part of a "maximum pressure campaign" over the North's development of nuclear weapons that could soon pose a direct threat to the U.S. mainland. (CBC)

The U.S. begins bombing Taliban drug labs as Trump’s Afghanistan strategy takes hold

U.S. and Afghan forces have launched a series of attacks on narcotics laboratories in southern Afghanistan, marking the start of what could become a long, expanded air war there under President Trump. The initial strikes, which began Sunday and were ongoing Monday, represent the first significant use of new legal authorities granted by the Trump administration in August that enable the Pentagon to target Taliban revenue streams, said Army Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Previously, the U.S. military conducted strikes only when facing imminent threat or working directly with the Afghans. (Washington Post)

This Woman Is Not A 'Former Model.' She's A Fighter Against ISIS, Alongside 10,000 Kurdish Women

There’s a particularly strange and poignant segment in Fear US Women, the new short documentary about a Canadian woman volunteering with the Kurdish all-women unit fighting ISIS in Syria. It's the part where Hanna Bohman puzzles over why the Western media keeps dismissing her as a "former model." Hanna Bohman joined the YPJ, as the unit is known, via its Facebook recruiting page, in 2014. The Ryot Films documentary, produced by Olivia Wilde and directed by David Darg, shows what her life is like among women in fatigues fighting on the front lines in Syria. (Forbes)

ISIS Group Releases Image of 'Beheaded' Pope Francis

In the image from the Wafa' Media Foundation, a jihadist stands over the orange-jumpsuited body of a prisoner with his hands behind his back, chest-down on the ground on a dirt street. The terrorist, clad in khaki with a white scarf covering his face, holds a knife in one hand and touches the head that looks like Pope Francis -- propped on the back of the body -- with his other hand. (PJ Media)



Anthony Furey: Laurier University tapes signal a much wider problem

CBC comedian Rick Mercer jumped into an Alberta provincial debate, and in doing so, dragged Last week a troubling story was exposed about a grad student at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) facing censure from her own department and an HR official. Lindsay Shepherd, a Master’s student in Communications studies, was put through the ringer by Nathan Rambukkana, an assistant professor in the department and her supervisor. (Toronto Sun)

Margaret Wente: Wilfrid Laurier graduate student delivers a wake-up call

If you want to understand the intellectual corruption that is eating away at our universities, listen to an audio recording made by a graduate student named Lindsay Shepherd. She is a 22-year-old teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario. Every senior administrator and every governor at every campus in the country should listen to it and ask themselves how far the rot has spread. (Globe and Mail)

Lorrie Goldstein: False promises in climate change goals

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed to the United Nations’ Paris climate accord in 2015, he repeated exactly what his predecessor, Jean Chretien, did when he signed the UN’s Kyoto climate accord in 1997. Both Liberal prime ministers committed Canadians to achieving industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions they knew they couldn’t deliver. (Toronto Sun)



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

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

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