True North Initiative News Scan 12 13 2017


Feds' ethics watchdog pick won't commit to probes of Trudeau, Morneau

The Liberal government's nominee for federal ethics watchdog won't commit to completing ongoing investigations into the prime minister or finance minister if he gets the job. But Mario Dion told the House of Commons ethics committee that if he is appointed, reviewing the files would be a top priority. "One of the first things I would attend to (is) review the whole genesis of those investigations," Dion said. (CTV)

The other side of Roxham Road: Canada grapples with border refugees

Washington has ended a temporary residency program for almost 60,000 Haitians allowed to legally enter the United States following an earthquake in 2010. The affected Haitians will have to leave the US by 2019. The program has also been revoked for two thousand Nicaraguans and it's unclear if other groups including 300,000 Salvadorans will be allowed to remain. The net result is a continued flow of people crossing the border into Canada by foot. (NCPR)

Top trending Canadian political figure in 2017? Scheer

"Hi, I'm Andrew," the leader of the Conservative Party's most recent campaign ad begins. It's an introduction of Andrew Scheer to the Canadian public after taking the helm of the Official Opposition in May. Scheer has been viewed as a relatively unknown political figure, despite having been the Speaker of the House of Commons during the last government, and a federal MP for 13 years. It was this year that Canadians wanted to get to know him, or started to wonder who he was, according to Google’s Year in Search results for 2017. (CTV)

Edmonton man extradited, faces terrorism and murder charges in New York

The U.S. Attorney's office for the eastern district of New York says an Edmonton man has been extradited and will face terrorism and murder charges. According to the office's website, Sayfildin Tahir Sharif — who also goes by Faruq Khalil Muhammad Isa — will face the charges Saturday in a federal courthouse in Brooklyn. The 36-year-old is charged with conspiring to kill Americans abroad, murdering Americans abroad, and providing material support to a terrorist conspiracy to kill Americans abroad. (Yorkton This Week)

Canada's military wants to know why women join ISIS and how to stop them

The Canadian government is studying why women and girls join groups like ISIS and devising ways for the military to use gender-specific “counter-messaging” to throw a wrench in terrorist recruitment efforts. Social psychologist Angela Febbraro, a “defence scientist” with the government, is leading the three-year project out of Toronto. In a telephone interview with the National Post Friday, she explained how Defence Research and Development Canada is taking a special interest in the role of women and girls within extremist organizations. (National Post)

Aging fighter jets to be replaced in mid-2020s, Liberals will buy used Aussie planes as stopgap

Canada plans to buy a handful of used Australian fighter jets as a stopgap on the way to replacing all of the air force's aging CF-18s sometime in the mid-2020s, the Liberal government said Tuesday. Cabinet ministers at the same time formally announced the beginning of the competition to replace the entire fleet of fighter jets, a process that will take years. (CBC)

Andrew Scheer Mocks Liberal Jet Plan By Asking Trudeau To Buy His Old Van

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer tried his hand at used car sales Tuesday to mock the Liberal government's decision to buy old Australian fighter jets. "If the prime minister is so keen on buying fixer-uppers, will he come over? Because I've got an old minivan I'd love to show him," Scheer joked in question period. (Huffington Post)

New York Charges Times Square Bomb Suspect With Terrorism; Official Says Attacker Watched ISIS Propaganda Online

New York officials on Tuesday said they charged a Bangladeshi man with terrorism, accusing him of setting off a pipe bomb a day earlier in a crowded Manhattan commuter hub, as investigators in his home country questioned his wife. Akayed Ullah, 27, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, supporting an act of terrorism, and making a terroristic threat under New York state law, the New York Police Department said, adding US authorities may also bring federal charges. (Algemeiner)

Americans revoking travel visas from visitors who plan to claim asylum in Canada

American authorities say an ongoing operation along their northern border has led them to revoke U.S.-issued travel visas for thousands of people, most of whom were headed to Canada to claim asylum. Some, according to a U.S. State Department report, are associated with terrorist groups. The revocations happened as part of what's called Operation Northern Watch, which focuses on criminal activity such as visa fraud, human smuggling and terrorist threats at the Canada-U.S. border. (Yahoo)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Kent Hehr forced to defend himself against allegations of rudeness, again

For the third time this month, federal cabinet minister Kent Hehr has been forced to defend himself against allegations he was rude and insensitive toward Canadians who came to him for help. Nova Scotia activist Kim Davis says that while Hehr was the veterans affairs minister, she and her husband Blair Davis met with him to discuss the challenges they were facing. (CBC)

Trudeau boasts about byelection results, Tories and NDP defensive

Justin Trudeau says the results of four federal byelections Monday night show the Liberals are on the right track with their focus on middle-class Canadians. Not surprisingly, the prime minister was the only party leader to express unalloyed pleasure Tuesday in the results, which saw the Liberals score their second byelection upset in as many months. (National Post)

A double dose of pointlessness: Two reasons Trump-Trudeau trade tiff irrelevant

There are dead-end conversations. Then there's the image of Justin Trudeau quibbling about the Canada-U.S. trade deficit with U.S. President Donald Trump, who recently revealed some backroom bickering between the two about which country buys more imports from the other. So who won the debate? (CTV)

Why are MPs browsing their phones during question period?

It’s a Wednesday afternoon in the House, and Andrew Scheer is at Bill Morneau’s throat trying to tear a chunk of meat off. Minutes before question period, the Conservative leader called for the finance minister’s resignation over conflict-of-interest questions that broke hard on the heels of controversy over his small-business tax plan. (Macleans)

Military spending bill provision reduces deportation risk for immigrant recruits

The defense authorization bill signed Tuesday by President Trump includes a measure to shield immigrant recruits from enlistment contract cancellations — and the specter of deportation — as they wait for drawn-out background checks to be completed, a positive development in the year-long effort by advocates and lawmakers to keep skilled noncitizens as a reliable recruiting pool. (Washington Post)

Jeff Sessions: New York bomber shows 'we cannot wait any longer' for immigration reform

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday called on Congress to reform federal immigration laws in the wake of Monday’s attempted terror attack in New York City. “[I]t is also up to Congress to improve our laws. We cannot wait any longer. As yesterday’s events showed us in the starkest terms: The failures of our immigration system are a national security issue,” Sessions said in a speech in Baltimore. (Washington Examiner)

Fearing the Worst, China Plans Refugee Camps on North Korean Border

A Chinese county along the border with North Korea is constructing refugee camps intended to house thousands of migrants fleeing a possible crisis on the Korean Peninsula, according to an internal document that appears to have been leaked from China’s main state-owned telecommunications company (NY Times)

North Korea readying for another nuclear test? Satellite images show hectic activity at Punggye-ri

North Korea appears to be pressing ahead with its nuclear programme. Satellite images recently detected hectic activity at the North Korean nuclear test site, Punggye-ri. Experts say that after North Korea's last nuclear test, minor tremors were detected near Mt Mantap, located close to the nuclear site. However, Pyongyang is now engaged in additional tunnel work at the site. (IBI Times)

South Korea conducts anti-terror drills ahead of Winter Games

Set to host the Winter Olympics in February, South Korea conducted a series of security drills on Tuesday to prepare against terror attacks ranging from a hostage situation, a vehicle ramming a stadium and a bomb-attached to a drone. (Reuters)

Erdogan: World should recognise Jerusalem as Palestinian capital

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged leaders of Muslim nations to recognise Jerusalem as the "occupied capital of the Palestinian state". Addressing a summit of the Organisation for Islamic Co-operation, he said the US decision to recognise the city as Israel's capital was "null and void". (BBC)

Alabama election: Democrat Jones defeats Roy Moore in Senate upset

Doug Jones has become the first Democrat in 25 years to win a US Senate seat for Alabama, after a bitter campaign against Republican Roy Moore. His unexpected victory deals a blow to President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, and narrows the Republican majority in the Senate to 51-49. (BBC) (NY Times)



Tarek Fatah: Long history of hypocrisy about Jerusalem

President Donald Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel had barely sunk in when predictions of a looming catastrophe started to make waves in the mainstream liberal media. Not surprisingly, Tony Burman, former head of Al Jazeera English and CBC News, warned in the Toronto Star that “(recognizing Jerusalem) foreshadows a dangerous new phase in the conflict that will encourage extremists on both sides to reach for the gun and engulf the region in violence.” (Toronto Sun)

Lorne Gunter: The starving polar bear story was agenda driven

hank goodness National Geographic had a team of photographers in Nunavut this summer to record the one and only time a polar bear ever starved to death. Well, maybe the bear, whose emaciated image has been viewed more than six million times, didn’t die. The photographers and videographers, who just happened to be from an activist group that raises money for environmental causes, now admit they don’t know whether the bear actually died. (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: New private member's bill could mean end of the Happy Meal in Canada

It’s rare that a Liberal government adopts a private member’s bill introduced by a Conservative senator, but Nancy Greene Raine’s Child Health Protection legislation was given second reading in the House of Commons Tuesday and looks set to usher in a nationwide ban on food and drink marketing aimed at children. (National Post)

Aaron Hutchins: A Doug Ford victory in the Toronto election would be a win for populism

America has Donald Trump in charge. The United Kingdom has its Brexit. France very nearly had Marine Le Pen as president. What does Canada have to offer in the world of populism? There was Kevin O’Leary and Kellie Leitch, two Conservative party leadership contenders. But one quit and the other lost, badly. Neither even got the chance to test their message in a national election. (Macleans)

Toronto Star: Tougher measures needed to stop campaign of terror against Rohingya

By now the misery that engulfs the lives of Burma’s Rohingya people is well-documented, despite every effort by that country to prevent the world from knowing their fate. Indeed, the United Nations now considers the Rohingya to be the most persecuted minority in the world. There’s little reason to question that. About 645,000 Rohingya have been living in unsanitary conditions with little food in camps in Bangladesh since they began fleeing Burma on Aug. 25. (Toronto Star)

Rachel Marsden: Jihadists Returning to the West Need Prison

The Russian Defense Ministry and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi made separate announcements last week that the Islamic State had been defeated. Of course, this doesn't mean that these terrorists won't be popping up elsewhere like bomb-toting, head-chopping Whac-A-Moles. (Newsmax)



-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet today to study Medical Inadmissibility of Immigrants