True North Initiative News Scan 12 06 2017


'Give us a chance': North Korea defectors ask to stay in Canada

North Korean defectors living in Toronto shared chilling stories at a conference Monday night in an attempt to appeal to the government for a chance to stay in Canada. Scarborough-Rouge River MPP Raymond Cho headlined the conference, hoping to get the attention of the federal government. He said there had been about 3,000 North Korean refugees living in the GTA about two years ago but claims most were deported to South Korea. (CBC)

Trudeau says he raised human rights, death penalty, in meeting with Chinese premier

Canada’s push to launch formal trade talks with China did not stop Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from raising a host of human rights concerns with the country’s No. 2 leader, something he said he would do again when he met with the regime’s President Xi Jinping Tuesday night. Over the course of a bilateral exchange with Premier Li Keqiang and subsequent dinner on Monday, Trudeau said he voiced Canada’s opposition to the death penalty and pressed Li on the importance of gaining access to Canadian citizens who face “difficulty in legal situations.” (Toronto Star)

Two charged after terror plot to kill Theresa May uncovered by British spy agency MI5

The security services have foiled an alleged plot to assassinate the Prime Minister in Downing Street, it emerged Tuesday. An Islamic extremist planned to use an improvised explosive device to blow up the gates of Downing Street before entering No 10 to make an attempt on Theresa May’s life. Two men have been charged with terror offences and are due to appear in Westminster magistrates’ court. (Montreal Gazette)

Canada blames U.S. and China for putting Trudeau in front of fake Canadian flags

Canada's foreign affairs department says China and the United States are "responsible" for supplying fake Canadian flags that have been used as backdrops during visits abroad by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The statement comes after Trudeau appeared with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week in front of what appeared to be erroneously-designed Canadian flags — and not for the first time. (National Observer)

World at 'pivot point,' needs to embrace openness free trade, PM says

The world is at a “pivot point” and will fail unless countries embrace free trade and elevate their citizens who have been left behind by globalization, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Wednesday. Trudeau delivered that dire, anti-protectionist message to a high-powered business audience at a major international conference in this bustling southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. (Financial Post)

Canada will not move embassy to Jerusalem, federal government says

The Trudeau government says it will not move the Canadian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem amid reports U.S. President Donald Trump will relocate the American embassy to the holy city and recognize it as the country's capital. A government official told The Globe and Mail on Tuesday that Canada will keep its embassy in Tel Aviv. The official also said Canada still does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital city, despite reports Mr. Trump will declare the U.S. does during a speech on Wednesday. (Globe and Mail)

Thalidomide victims claim Kent Hehr repeatedly made ‘degrading’ comments to group

Members of the Thalidomide Survivor Task Group allege Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities Kent Hehr made degrading comments about the lifespan of those suffering from birth defects associated with the drug during a meeting to discuss medical compensation promised by the previous Conservative government. (Global)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Halifax businessman accused of bilking foreign workers pleads guilty to misrepresentation

A Halifax businessman stood in court Tuesday to admit submitting false records to immigration authorities, a moment of vindication for the Filipino temporary workers whom he had allegedly underpaid. "We're very happy that after almost five years, he said it," Jason Sta. Juana, 38, said in an interview outside Nova Scotia Supreme Court. Sta. Juana is among the several dozen temporary workers — many of whom attended court Tuesday — who assisted investigators from the Canada Border Services Agency in probing the employment practices of 55-year-old Hector Mantolino. (CBC)

Liberal MP Romanado speaks out, disputes Tory MP Bezan's telling of events

Liberal MP Sherry Romanado is speaking out a day after revelations that Conservative MP James Bezan made "sexual" comments about her at a public event, disputing his telling of events. On May 2, Bezan was posing for a photo with Romanado and another person and said, "This isn’t my idea of a threesome." The incident only came to light Monday when Bezan apologized in the House of Commons for the “inappropriate and insensitive comment." (CTV)

Liberals use time allocation to cut short debate on ATIP bill

The Liberal government moved a time allocation motion Tuesday to cut short the debate on its controversial proposed reforms to the federal Access to Information law. Bill C-58 is at third reading stage. MPs voted 160-120 on the time allocation motion today. (IPolitics)

Sask. government rolls out red carpet for GTH investor who was wanted by China for fraud

On Feb. 8, the CEO of the GTH wrote to politicians and bureaucrats saying "thank you again to all who participated in the introduction to Mike Niu and officials of Brightenview last week at the legislature." The email was sent to then-minister of the economy Jeremy Harrison, then-deputy minister to the premier, Alanna Koch, and Laurie Pushor, who continues to serve as deputy minister of the economy, among others. (CBC)

China finds gems in Canadian tech as free trade talks stumble

China tech giants including Tencent Holdings Ltd and Huawei Technologies Co are boosting investment in Canadian companies with exposure to everything from electric vehicles to artificial intelligence, attracted by the country's swelling ranks of science and technology graduates, valuations that are cheaper than the US, and government enticements. (Business Times)

US deportations decline in 2017 but arrests of illegal immigrants rise

The US government deported fewer illegal immigrants in 2017 than it did last year, even as it arrested far more people suspected of being in the United States illegally, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics released on Tuesday. (SCMP)

Border arrests of illegal immigrants hits lowest level since 1971 in the US

Apprehensions of illegal immigrants at the U.S. border dropped 24 percent from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017 and represent the lowest level since 1971, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Tuesday morning. The Department of Homeland Security agency reported 310,531 apprehensions and 216,370 inadmissible people caught at various parts of the Mexico and Canada borders, as well as the ports of entry from Oct. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2017. (Washington Examiner)

As life's pressures mounted, he left Minnesota for ISIS

Abdifatah Ahmed's life in Minneapolis seemed carefree — a clean-shaven family man obsessed with selfies, shooting hoops at a local basketball court and pumping iron at an Uptown gym. Below the surface, though, Ahmed, faced a well of problems, and by late 2013, they were closing in. Earlier, he had called an ex-spouse "in tears" because an ex-wife from another state was seeking to collect child support, which may have sent Ahmed, then 33, into a tailspin. (MPR)

Trump plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital triggers warnings

U.S. allies and foes alike expressed dismay Wednesday over President Donald Trump’s expected move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital with some warning it could potentially trigger violence. The decision will “provoke Muslims and Christians alike," Jordan’s King Abdullah predicted, while Pope Francis urged the White House to reconsider. (NBC) (BBC)

IOC bans Russia from 2018 Olympics over doping — athletes can compete without flag or anthem

The International Olympic Committee barred Russia and the its sports leaders from the upcoming games in South Korea after its lead investigator concluded members of the Russian government concocted a doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Games that “caused unprecedented damage to Olympism and to sports.” (Toronto Sun)

Manchester terror attack ‘might have been averted,’ report for British government says

A suicide attack at a concert given by pop star Ariana Grande in Manchester in May might have been foiled had British investigators grasped the importance of “highly relevant” intelligence that reached their desks, according to a government-commissioned report released Tuesday. “It is conceivable that the Manchester attack in particular might have been averted had the cards fallen differently,” the review concluded. (Washington Post)



Tarek Fatah: Masuma Khan is no Lindsay Shepherd

For the last month, I have been following the unbelievable story out of Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, where graduate student and teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd faced a modern-day inquisition by her professors. Her crime? She had the temerity to ask her students to hear both sides of a controversy before coming to their own conclusions. In this case, a discussion about gender-neutral pronouns. (Toronto Sun)

Ezra Levant: Germany is paying Syrian migrants to go home. Will Canada do the same?

Vladimir Putin has announced that Syria is almost completely free of ISIS terrorists now. So look at what Angela Merkel’s Germany is doing. She’s the one who invited in two million Muslim migrants. They’re now offering Syrian migrant families 3,000 Euros to go home. That's a fraction of a sliver of what it costs to settle those refugees in the west. And that’s if you’re only counting economic costs. The social costs of misfit migrants in the west is enormous, just in terms of crime and the infusion of sharia culture. (Rebel)

John Ivison: Trudeau breaks the three rules of doing business in China, leaves Beijing empty-handed

Justin Trudeau left China’s capital without a deal to launch free trade negotiations with the world’s second-largest economy. But after ‎the Prime Minister met with Chinese president Xi Jinping Tuesday, an agreement appeared close. Sources suggested the deal was on and then off again at various points Tuesday evening. (National Post)

Christie Blatchford: Tearful Liberal MP should accept James Bezan's fifth apology and move on

Comes a time, as the great Neil Young once sang. Comes a time to draw the line, to note that not all remarks of a sexual nature are actually sexual in nature, that not all talk that is debatably inappropriate must be censored, that sometimes a bad line is just a bad line and that the #metoo movement does not require every woman to recall and publicize every slight, real or imagined, ever inflicted upon her by every man in the world. (National Post)

Susan Delacourt: For God’s sake, stop using sexual harassment as a political weapon

It was only three years ago — exactly three years ago this weekend, in fact — that the House of Commons came up with an official policy to deal with sexual harassment in MPs’ offices. A code of conduct to cover MPs themselves, and how they deal with each other, came months later, in 2015, just before Parliament was dissolved for the last election. (IPolitics)

Robyn Urback: An inappropriate joke by an MP is not really a #MeToo moment

There have been many phenomenal successes as a result of the #MeToo movement, not the least of which has been watching once-untouchably powerful men brought down by revelations of their own misbehaviour. Women are no longer afraid to come forward, and everyone is thinking more carefully about how their behaviour affects others. There's no question that, for these and many more reasons, the movement has been an unrivalled force for good. (CBC)

Thomas Walkom: Why Trudeau’s ambitious plan for Canada-China free trade may not work

Justin Trudeau is apparently holding out for a more comprehensive trade deal with China. The prime minister should be careful what he asks for. The much-discussed but still theoretical Canada-China free trade pact has been undergoing a kind of perils-of-Pauline adventure this week. It seemed alive and well Sunday when the prime minister landed in Beijing, reportedly to announce with his Chinese counterpart that formal negotiations on the deal were ready to begin. (Toronto Star)

Senator David Perdue: Stop gambling with national security, and end the visa lottery

Since the lottery was enacted in 1990, the federal government has naively doled out approximately 50,000 green-cards annually at random to foreign nationals from countries with lower levels of overall immigration to the United States. The lottery by design makes few, if any, allowances for an individual's country of origin, even if the country is identified by the State Department as a sponsor of terrorism. It also has no criteria for previous ties to the United States. (NBC)



-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet tomorrow on Subject Matter of the Supplementary Estimates (B) 2017-18 and Committee Business

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security meet tomorrow to study Bill C-59, An Act respecting National security matters

-       Standing Committee on National Defence meet later today to study Canada and the Ukraine Crisis