True North Initiative News Scan 12 28 2017


Canadians say ISIS, North Korea, homegrown terrorists among greatest security risks: Ipsos poll

North Korea and the so-called Islamic State are considered the biggest threats to national security, according to a new poll, but there are growing fears about the risk of homegrown terrorists in Canada. The poll, conducted exclusively for Global News, found 74 per cent of respondents viewed ISIS as the biggest security risk to the country followed by North Korea, 73 per cent, terror groups like Al Qaeda, 72 per cent, and homegrown or radicalized terrorists at 72 per cent. (Global)

Canadian citizenship applications surge after government relaxes language, residency rules

There was a spike in applications for Canadian citizenship after the government relaxed the rules around residency requirements and language proficiency this fall. Figures from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship provided to CBC News show there was an average of 3,653 applications a week in the six months before changed were brought in Oct. 11. (CBC)

Canadians flock to U.S. destinations despite tourism ‘Trump slump’

Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric and proposed travel ban in the early part of this year caused many in the travel industry to fear a "Trump slump" in the number of people choosing to visit the United States. Many factors influence travel decisions, making it impossible to say just how much the U.S. President's divisiveness affected the overall picture of travel to the United States in 2017. But with data for the first half of the year now available, two things are certain: This has not been a good year for U.S. tourism overall, but there has clearly been no Trump slump when it comes to Canadians. (Globe and Mail)

Canada's military seeks major cyber defence upgrade

Canada’s military says it needs to upgrade its defences against cyberattacks, documents released by the Department of National Defence read. The documents, released by the department earlier this month, detail a significant and long-term project to give military brass better “situational awareness” of cyber space, guard against attacks, and “respond” to “advanced threats.” (Toronto Star)

How Trump could kill the Iran nuclear deal in January

By mid-January, the president will face new legal deadlines to choose whether to slap U.S. sanctions back on Tehran. Senior lawmakers and some of Trump's top national security officials are trying to preserve the agreement. But the deal's backers fear Trump has grown more willing to reject the counsel of his foreign policy team, as he did with his recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (Politico)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Silicon Valley start-ups look to Canada in hunt for talent

Start-ups backed by some of Silicon Valley’s leading investors have joined a new venture to hire more software engineers in Canada, as concerns about President Donald Trump’s efforts to restrict highly skilled immigration persist into his second year in office. Eventbrite, the events start-up funded by Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global Management, Zola, an online wedding list site that raised money from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Thrive Capital, and, an esports company backed by Accel and Founders Fund, have all signed up to Terminal in the past month. (Financial Times)

Afghanistan suicide attack kills at least 41 in Kabul

Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a Shi’ite cultural center and news agency on Thursday in the Afghan capital that killed dozens of people attending a conference. Ismail Kawosi, a spokesman for the ministry of public health, said 41 people had been killed and 48 wounded in the latest in a series of attacks on media organizations in Kabul. (Global)

Police seize 10 litres of suspected liquid cocaine at Ottawa airport, 2 arrested

Authorities have seized 10 litres of suspected liquid cocaine after two Ottawa residents allegedly attempted to smuggle the drug in rum bottles from the Dominican Republic earlier this month. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers made the seizure at Macdonald-Cartier International Airport in Ottawa after the two travellers returned from the Dominican on Dec. 7. (Global)

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley promises to lay out budget balancing plan in 2018

Premier Rachel Notley says 2018 will focus on Alberta’s fragile but rebounding economy, specifically a road map to get back to budget balance in five years. “Presenting a responsible, credible path to balance for 2023 — we’re working very rigorously on it and it will be responsible,” Notley said in a year-end interview. (National Post)

Scott Reid: The populist Reformer who stood alone in supporting the pot bill

Scott Reid stood alone on the Conservative benches as the House of Commons gave its final say on landmark legislation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Of the 74 Conservative MPs in attendance for the late November vote, he was the only one to support the bill. He was also the only MP in the Chamber who could say with some level of confidence that his vote represented the wish of his constituents. (Globe and Mail)

The secret lives of young IS fighters

Three young IS militants lie dead on the banks of the River Tigris. They left behind personal photos and documents which reveal the extraordinary story of their private lives. (BBC)

Syrian Kurds hold top French jihadist Thomas Barnouin

One of France's most-wanted jihadists, Thomas Barnouin, has been captured by Kurdish YPG rebel fighters in Syria, French media report. Barnouin, 36, is believed to be linked to a French jihadist cell that included Mohamed Merah, who murdered seven people in the Toulouse area in 2012. (BBC)

Trump Sends Fewer Mexicans Home Despite Deportation Talk

President Donald Trump sent 26 percent fewer Mexicans back home this year through November than Barack Obama did in the same period in 2016, despite vows to crack down on illegal immigration, Mexican government data show. About 152,000 Mexican nationals were repatriated from the U.S. between January and November, according to data from Mexico’s Interior Ministry that were first reported by Milenio newspaper. That compares with just under 205,000 in the first 11 months of 2016. (Bloomberg)

Tired of Regional Critics, Venezuela Looks to Russia and China

Venezuela, which a decade ago aspired to be the axis of a new, left-leaning diplomatic and trade alliance in the Americas, is finding itself increasingly isolated in the hemisphere. Venezuela downgraded diplomatic relations with Canada and Brazil in recent days, after a war of words over the Venezuelan government’s decision last week to ban three influential opposition parties from running candidates in next year’s presidential election. (NY Times)




Ezra Levant: How Terrorists Slip Through Immigrant Screening

On last night's show, Immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann joined me to discuss the challenges Canadian border officers face when screening migrants entering the country illegally. Migrants sneaking into Canada illegally do not come from developed nations with governments capable of keeping records on their citizens, so they aren't carrying paperwork to prove they aren't criminals or affiliated with terrorist organizations. (Rebel)

Lorne Gunter: Trudeau’s not a ‘details’ guy. That’s bad

On first reading, Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson’s report on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s two family vacations to the Aga Khan’s private Bahamian island paints a portrait of a man with little understanding of government conflict-of-interest rules — and little interest in learning them. (Toronto Sun)

Lauren Heuser: Canada owes highly educated immigrants a level playing field

If you’ve spent any time in taxis, you’ve probably met the proverbial over-educated but underemployed immigrant: the lawyer or doctor toiling away as a cab driver because he’s been unable to qualify as a professional here. Canada admits these immigrants into the country—in large part on the strength of their credentials. To what extent does it then owe them help in landing professional jobs when they arrive? (National Post)

Andrew Cohen: Forget the UN – Canada's foreign policy is all about the U.S.

It will be a subdued affair. The invitation list is limited. The guests of honour will be those few nations that opposed the resolution passed by the United Nations on Dec. 21. These include heavyweights such as Togo, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau, Honduras, Guatemala and the Federated States of Micronesia. Out of seasonal generosity – or political desperation – Haley has also invited the 35 members who abstained and the 21 who were absent, presumably with the diplomatic flu. The resolution passed 128 to 9. (Ottawa Citizen)

Mark Bonokoski: Selling Andrew Scheer, the smiling out-of-nowhere man

As he told Evan Solomon of CTV’s Question Period during a year-end interview, “(This means) getting out to more places, and finding ways to get my message out to Canadians in a way that resonates with them.” There could not be a better time than immediately. (Toronto Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: The sorriest apologies of 2017

If 2017 was anything, it was the Year of the Awful Apology. That is, apologies that are so bad they require an apology. To wit: (Toronto Sun)

Roy Green: Trudeau’s troubling take on returning ISIS fighters

IS remains unrepentant about committing some of the most vicious cruelty toward humanity since the Schutz Staffel of Adolf Hitler led Nazi legions in the systemic elimination of millions of lives.  Their God was national socialism, their mission foretold by the promise of an Aryan-dominated Thousand-Year Reich. (Global)

Stephen Maher: The Aga Khan trip and a glimpse into Trudeau’s bad judgment

I would have thought that Trudeau would have imposed a higher standard on himself, avoiding accepting extravagant overnight hospitality from any billionaire, whether or not they happen to be doing business with the government. Perhaps 10 years of the grim rectitude of Stephen Harper distorted my sense of what kind of freebies our politicians might take. I am glad that we no longer need fear that CSIS might lock up the Raging Grannies, but this Trudeau business is enough to make one nostalgic for Harper’s abstemiousness. (Macleans)

Terry Glavin: 2017 brought a few signs of hope in an otherwise brutal and dreary year

When Islamic State marauders roared across Iraq’s Nineveh Plains in July, 2014, they burned the churches, desecrated shrines, toppled crosses and destroyed ancient manuscripts. About 200,000 Christians fled, and most of them ended up in displaced persons’ camps in Iraqi Kurdistan or in makeshift refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. In Mosul, St. Paul’s Cathedral remained standing, but it was turned into a jail. (National Post)



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