True North Initiative News Scan 12 14 2017


House of Commons rises for the year, leaving major bills in limbo

The House of Commons has adjourned two days ahead of schedule, leaving a number of major bills in limbo. Wednesday afternoon Government House Leader Bardish Chagger got the unanimous consent needed for an adjournment motion, allowing MPs to break for the holidays. MPs were scheduled to sit until Friday, but it’s common ahead of a long break that all sides will agree to rise early. (CTV)

Trudeau staffer being probed over allegations of 'inappropriate behaviour'

An official in Justin Trudeau’s office is being investigated over unspecified allegations, both the Prime Minister’s Office and the official confirmed late Wednesday. The Prime Minister’s Office has not identified the official or the nature of the allegations, but several media outlets have reported that the accusations involved “inappropriate behaviour.” The staffer, Claude-Eric Gagne, the PMO’s deputy director of operations, has issued a statement that he is on leave because of an “independent investigation regarding allegations” that have come to the PMO’s attention. (Toronto Sun) (CBC)

'Critical' bed shortage at Alberta Hospital delays psychiatric assessment of accused Edmonton attacker

A critical bed shortage at Alberta hospital has delayed the psychiatric assessment of the man accused of attacking an Edmonton police officer and hitting four pedestrians with a UHaul van during a police chase downtown. Abdulahi Sharif appeared in court by CCTV Wednesday, hands clasped in front of him, nodding as he listened to the proceedings translated into Somali by an interpreter. Court heard Sharif, 30, had not yet undergone a psychiatric assessment ordered a month ago. He's expected to be assessed Thursday. (CBC)

Parole eligibility nears for former UW student in terrorism case

Kevin Mohamed, the former University of Waterloo student who went to Syria to join a terrorist organization, will be free to apply for day parole in just a few months. But life outside of prison will be anything but free for Mohamed, who was sentenced to three years of parole with strict conditions on top of his four-and-a-half-year sentence. That means he will be barred from owning a passport and will be placed on a government no-fly list. And he can't use a phone, computer or any device connected to the internet. (The Record)

Islamic State threatens U.S. attacks over Jerusalem decision: statement

Islamic State threatened attacks on U.S. soil in retaliation for the Trump administration's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, one of the group's social media accounts reported on Thursday without giving any details. In a message on one of its accounts on the Telegram instant messaging service titled "Wait for us" and "ISIS in Manhattan", the group said it would carry out operations and showed images of New York's Times Square and what appeared to be an explosive bomb belt and detonator. (Yahoo)

Morneau outlines small-business tax revisions as committee calls for plan to be scrapped

The Liberal government is making further concessions to small-business owners even as a Senate study has concluded that Finance Minister Bill Morneau should scrap his controversial tax plan entirely. As members of Parliament bolted for the exits for a six-week recess, Mr. Morneau stood in the House of Commons foyer to announce his latest revisions to tax changes he first proposed in July. The latest adjustments include new exemptions for certain family situations, but the minister is sticking with his plan to have the new rules take effect on Jan. 1. (Globe and Mail)

All 25 passengers on crashed Saskatchewan flight 'accounted for' but some require air ambulance, RCMP say

All 25 passengers onboard the West Wind Aviation flight that crashed shortly after taking off from the Fond-du-Lac, Sask., airport Wednesday night "have been accounted for and removed from the scene of the crash," the RCMP said late Wednesday. There were no fatalities, RCMP added in a 10:30 p.m. CST news release. (CBC)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

DND posts Facebook photo of Super Hornets to tout Australian fighter purchase

The Canadian Forces social-media team might have been flying high over the federal government’s plans to buy second-hand jets from Australia, but an errant photo of Boeing’s controversial Super Hornet fighter has brought it crashing back to Earth. The photo in question was posted to the military’s Facebook page Tuesday after the Liberals confirmed they were buying the Australian jets instead of new Super Hornets from U.S. aerospace giant Boeing Co (National Post)

Committee urges federal government to repeal law that bans disabled immigrants

A parliamentary committee has recommended Ottawa repeal a provision in the law that bans people with disabilities and excessive health needs from immigrating to Canada. In a groundbreaking report on the controversial practice, the standing committee on citizenship and immigration said the excessive medical demand clause goes against the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is out of touch with Canadian values. (Toronto Star)

Canadians have donated $12.5 million to Rohingya refugees, and the government will match it

Canadian non-profits hope a new portion of government support will bring much-needed relief to Rohingya refugees. International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced Wednesday the federal government will match a total of $12.5 million donated to local charities between August and November as part of its funding for the humanitarian crisis. (Metro) (Radio Canada)

MSF estimates more than 6,700 Rohingya killed in Myanmar

At least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the month after violence broke out in Myanmar in August, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says. Based on surveys of refugees in Bangladesh, the number is much higher than Myanmar's official figure of 400. (BBC)

Canadian arms makers get OK to sell to Ukraine

The Liberal cabinet has given the green light for Canadian defence contractors to sell weapons to Ukraine in a watershed decision which a senior official of that country hopes will influence the Trump administration to follow suit. The embattled eastern European country has been added to Canada's automatic firearms country control list. (CBC)

Playing long game, new NDP leader Singh says of poor byelection showing

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh isn't reading too much into his party's dismal showing in a series of recent byelections, insisting he's playing a long game as he works to shore up support across Canada in preparation for the 2019 federal election. And he's waving off suggestions that he didn't do enough to help the NDP candidate in the east Toronto suburb of Scarborough, where Singh held a so-called "Jagmeet-and-greet" event — billed in media reports at the time as a campaign event — well outside the actual riding where Brian Chang was trying to win a seat. (CBC)

Department leaves veterans in ‘financial limbo,’ behind on half its targets

Canada’s Veterans Affairs Department is behind on half of its performance targets, department results released last month reveal, which opposition MPs call unacceptable and a “horrible performance” built off systemic problems. Veterans Affairs missed 14 of 26 targets for the 2016-17 year, filing 54 per cent under “attention required,” leading to delayed decisions on veteran services like career training, long-term care, and disability support. (Hill Times)

The CRA 'picks on people who can't defend themselves,' says single mother battling agency

Tears well up in Karli Baxter's eyes as she recounts her recent experience with the Canada Revenue Agency. The single mother of two from Kitchener, Ont., is fighting the agency's demand that she pay $20,000 in back payments — for child benefits and tax credits — after a CRA review rejected her claim that she has been separated from her husband since 2015. (CBC)

Wary of Trump, some foreign-born tech workers are choosing Canada instead of Silicon Valley

Petra Axolotl knew her chances of getting an H-1B visa were slim. She had an MBA from Wharton and a job offer at Twitter, but luck would decide the Dutch data scientist’s fate — and in 2016, it did not fall in her favor. Axolotl missed out in the lottery for the coveted visa but remained determined to work in Silicon Valley, a place she considered the global capital of tech innovation. The plan was to reapply in 2017. (LA Times) (Global)


Even as the battle to destroy the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) draws to a close, Iraq enters a new chapter of vicious turmoil. While the coalition’s military operations were meticulously planned, a long-term approach for the refugee fallout never materialized, and the international community lacks a political strategy for the day after ISIS. (Newsweek)



Candice Malcolm: What hate crime statistics really say

We’re often told that hate crimes against Muslims are on the rise,and that anti-Muslim bigotry is a growing problem in Canada. This is the argument behind the Trudeau government’s dubious motion, M-103, which seeks to use a “whole-of-government approach” to eliminate the undefined and politically-loaded concept of  “Islamophobia”. “The government should recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear; condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination,” reads the text. But is it true there is an “increasing public climate of hate and fear”? (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Morneau chokes 'income sprinkling' with more red tape

As Christmas approaches, Finance Minister Bill Morneau continues to giftwrap the bill of goods that he is on the side of every hard-working and underpaid Bob and Betty Cratchit in the land. But he is more and more like Ebenezer Scrooge, one of those Bay Street elites whose entire life has been one of monied privilege, and who is therefore without an understanding of how difficult it is for average Canadians to get by. (Toronto Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: Trudeau breaks his promise on carbon pricing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau misled Canadians when he promised his national carbon pricing plan would be revenue neutral for the federal government. As a report by the independent, non-partisan Parliamentary Budget Officer Jean-Denis Frechette confirmed Tuesday, Trudeau’s government is already raking in hundreds of millions of dollars annually from provincial carbon pricing, even before his mandatory national carbon pricing plan kicks in next year. (Toronto Sun)



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