True North Initiative: News Scan 12 30 16


New laws in 2017: Everything you need to know

Start the New Year off on the right foot with this list of new laws coming into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. (CTV)

Chrystia Freeland set for trade talks with China in 2017

International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland says she's tentatively booked to have her first face-to-face discussion with China in February as Canada explores a free trade agreement with the country. In September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced the start of exploratory talks with the goal of doubling trade between the two countries by 2025. "China is very much a focus," Freeland told CBC Radio's The House in a year-end interview. (CBC)

Canadian government cautiously optimistic about Syrian ceasefire

The Canadian government is cautiously welcoming news of the ceasefire that took effect at midnight local time in Syria, but Syrian refugees in Canada are not so hopeful. "Canada stands ready to support the Syrian people in their efforts to secure a future that is peaceful," a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion said in a statement, adding that a Syrian-led political transition is still the government's preferred option for a lasting resolution to the conflict. (CBC)

Extra security planned for New Year's Eve in Ottawa

Ottawa Police confirm that recent terrorism in Europe has caused them to ramp up security measures in the capital ahead of New Year’s Eve. The most noticeable changes are large concrete barriers that will block off important intersections. Police say the barriers will help prevent truck attacks like the one that killed 86 in Nice, France in July and the deadly attack on a Berlin Christmas market, which killed 11 people earlier this month (CTV)

‘Brand Trudeau’ mulled to help pitch world on Canadian return to peacekeeping

Canadian bureaucrats pondered using the personal "brand" of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sell the world on the merits of the country's return to peacekeeping, The Canadian Press has learned. Using the prime minister's personal appeal was seen by senior foreign ministry officials as one of the possible "framing" techniques for explaining Canada's decision to devote more military resources to United Nations peacekeeping operations. (Metro)

Liberals steer clear of Kerry’s Israel comments, reiterate support for two-state solution

The Liberal government is reiterating its support for a two-state solution in the Middle East but did not go to the same extent as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in strongly denouncing Israeli settlement-building following a stinging rebuke from the UN. The government’s measured tone is being harshly criticized by the Conservatives, who accused the Liberals of pandering for a UN Security Council seat and expressed disappointment in the actions of the administration of outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama. (Globe and Mail)

Obama Issues Sanctions for Alleged Russian Hacking

President Obama has expelled 35 Russian intelligence operatives and sanctioned five Russian entities and four individuals for an alleged cyberassault on Democratic political organizations during the 2016 presidential campaign, the White House announced today. “I have ordered a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber-operations aimed at the U.S. election,” Obama wrote in a statement. “These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior.” (ABC) (New York Times)

Russia moves to expel US diplomats in response to sanctions

The Russian foreign ministry has called for the expulsion of 35 US diplomats in response to a similar move by Washington. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the request had been made to President Vladimir Putin. The Obama administration expelled 35 Russia diplomats and their families over alleged Russian hacking during the US election campaign. (BBC)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Canada’s economy to drop out of global top 10 by 2020: report

A U.K.-based think-tank says Canada will have the world’s 10th largest economy in 2017, but will be overtaken in a few years by South Korea. The analysis from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, published in co-operation with Global Construction Perspectives, estimates Canada’s gross domestic product will be worth 1.635 trillion U.S. dollars next year. (Global News)

For refugees living in Canada, a January 1 birthday is no reason to celebrate

This is the fate of many refugees who arrive in Canada. As a result of not knowing their own date of birth or not having access to government documents, refugees are often assigned Jan. 1 as a birth date by agencies or governments they came into contact with before reaching Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada does not keep track of such data, but settlement workers estimate there could be thousands of immigrants in Canada who have Jan. 1 listed as their birth date without actually being born on that day. (Globe and Mail)

Vancouver startup internships help refugees move into job market

Erik de Vries, the marketing manager at Globalme, said the company has hired two refugees from Syria as paid interns since this past summer. The first intern was such a good fit with the company that the initial three-month placement, which started in July, was extended until October. (Globe and Mail)

U of T, McGill University rank in top five of North America’s ‘worst’ schools for Jewish students

Four Canadian post-secondary schools, including the University of Toronto and McGill University, have landed on a provocative list of North America’s 40 “worst” campuses for Jewish students. Algemeiner, a New York-based Jewish weekly publication, said it compiled the list to draw attention to the “rising” problem of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hostility faced by Jewish students. (National Post)

Trudeau more troubled by 'Princess Leia's' death than Berlin terror victims: Blaney

Conservative leadership candidate Steven Blaney took a shot at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Wednesday for responding faster to the death of actress Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in the Star Wars movie franchise, than to the deaths resulting from the December 19 Berlin Christmas market terrorist attack. (IPolitics)

Canada-EU Trade Deal Could Survive Brexit in U.K., Freeland Says

Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada will seek to build on its EU trade deal within the U.K. once Brexit occurs, rather than striking a separate bilateral pact. The Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement is set to go into force provisionally in early 2017, about the same time the U.K. only begins official talks to exit the European Union. The timing leaves Freeland optimistic the pact will take effect in the U.K. -- and, once it does, both sides can reach a deal to preserve it. (Bloomberg)

Winnipegger named United Nations director of global emergencies

A Winnipegger just landed a big job with the United Nations. Ahmed Warsame has been appointed director of global emergencies, staff security and supply management by the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees. The Somalia-born humanitarian aid worker has spent most of the past 30 years in areas where some of the world's worst conflicts have occurred, including south Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Pakistan. (CBC)

Lisa Raitt on running for Conservative leadership as husband battles Alzheimer’s

Before launching her bid for Conservative leadership, Lisa Raitt had to decide: Would her husband survive without her? Bruce Wood, Ms. Raitt’s long-time partner, was diagnosed in June with early onset Alzheimer’s. Only in his mid-50s, it was devastating news for the couple, who decided to marry in September after seven years living together. “I cried for four weeks. And then you stand up, brush yourself off and say ‘Okay, well let’s get on with this. What are we going to do? How am I going to help him? What am I going to do in my life?’” Ms. Raitt recently said over lunch in the parliamentary dining room. (Globe and Mail)

Trump populism comes to Canada as Conservatives seek leader

Canada's answer to Donald Trump is a pediatric surgeon and former cabinet minister who, like the U.S. president-elect, is railing against immigration and political elites. Kellie Leitch, 46, has vaulted to the front of the race to lead the opposition Conservative Party by pushing a hard-right "Canadian values" platform that taps into discontent over the sluggish economy and Canada's acceptance of 37,000 Syrian refugees. (Reuters)

Downing Street criticises US comments on Israel

Downing Street has criticised US Secretary of State John Kerry for calling the Netanyahu government the "most right-wing in Israel's history". It was "not appropriate" to attack the composition of the democratically-elected government of an ally, PM Theresa May's spokesman said. Mr Kerry had said Israel's policies were driven by "the most extreme elements" in its ruling coalition. (BBC)

White House Dares Trump To Roll Back Sanctions Against Russia

White House officials predicted Thursday that new sanctions being levied against Russia in retaliation for that country’s apparent hacking during the 2016 election would not be reversed by President-elect Donald Trump, despite Trump’s call for warmer relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Huffington Post)



Benjamin Alarie: Want to boost Canadian innovation? Open our borders

Many of the world’s most ambitious tech workers want to come to Canada. They want to help create and build world-class tech companies and live in our safe and diverse cities. Unfortunately, too often we are tripping over ourselves, making unforced errors in a game that we can and should be dominating. Opening our borders to talented tech workers is the single best policy for boosting innovation and job creation in Canada. It is essentially free. It would be highly effective. And, the timing is great – Canada’s tech industry is growing and our country’s brand is hot. (Globe and Mail)

Matthew Fisher: Fearing the enemy within at Iraq’s refugee camps

Mustafa’s posturing attracted astonishingly little attention from the thousands of other internally displaced Iraqis who had ended up in one of a network of hastily erected UN IDP camps halfway between besieged Mosul and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s capital in Erbil. But the Kurds and the Iraqi government are deeply concerned about where the refugees’ loyalties truly lie. (Vancouver Sun)

John Ivison: Trump’s Buy America pledge could set off a trade war with Canada because of a ferry terminal

The Americans have never been good at listening to foreigners – “consultation” usually means lecturing or bullying. This state of affairs is hardly likely to improve when Donald Trump brings his particular brand of megaphone diplomacy to the White House. For Canada, one of the first potential flashpoints in the new bilateral universe could be in Prince Rupert, B.C. (National Post)

Gerry Nicholls: Former rock star Trudeau downgraded to “regular politician”

Seeing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau get slammed with negative media coverage is like watching the Good Ship Lollipop get torpedoed in the waters of Peppermint Bay. It’s startling to behold, since Trudeau’s “sugar and spice” political persona has always seemed to guarantee him media attention that alternates somewhere between fawning and adulatory. (Ottawa Sun)

Scott Taylor: Trudeau’s Liberals may be setting military up to fail

The Trudeau Liberals have been at the federal helm for over one year now, and the grace period afforded any new government is rapidly coming to an end. During the election campaign Trudeau had promised to end Canada’s combat role in Iraq. Once in power, the Liberals settled for the compromise solution of not renewing the combat air mission when it was scheduled to expire last February. (Chronicle Herald)