News Highlights – 28 Nov 11

  • Syria  Foreign Affairs suggests Canadians GTFO ASAP – more here (Minister’s Twitter warning), here and here.
  • Afghanistan (1)  Toronto Star continues full court press to get interpreter to Canada.  “From Africa, through Europe to Mexico, the U.S. and across Canada, thousands of people are joining the outcry against the Canadian government’s refusal to give an Afghan war hero safe refuge. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says former Afghan interpreter Sayed Shah Sharifi, who was praised for his bravery on the battlefield by Canadian troops he worked alongside, doesn’t deserve a visa to escape Taliban revenge. If Prime Minister Stephen Harper needed any proof that his immigration minister’s harsh stand is embarrassing Canada in front of the world, here it is. By Sunday evening, more than 2,141 people had signed at least two online petitions, building on growing pressure from Toronto Star readers writing letters demanding Harper and Kenney help Sharifi. Lynn Hamilton, who describes herself as an activist blogger, started a campaign demanding protection for Sharifi on Care2 take action, which bills itself as the world’s number one petition site ….”  Actually, there’s two petitions out there – one here, the other here.  Let’s hope the Toronto Star gets this guy before the Taliban does….
  • Afghanistan (2)  One Mountie’s story about training Afghan cops.
  • Way Up North  The federal government will move ahead with its planned military facility in Resolute, Nunavut. Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised an Arctic warfare training facility in 2007. The facility looks like it will now become reality, but with a few changes to the original plan. The new facility will focus mainly on training for disasters. “I think the tragic event of this past fall highlighted the need for being able to have a facility that we can operate out of,” said Maj. Bill Chambré with the Department of National Defence. In August, 12 people died when a 737-jet slammed in to a hill near the airport. Soldiers responded right away and helped save three lives because they happened to be training in Resolute at the time. Chambré says instead of a facility dedicated solely to protecting Canadian Arctic sovereignty, soldiers there will learn how to respond to accidents and disasters in the High Arctic. “My focus is mainly building a training facility but to also have a facility where we can conduct operations.” The facility will be built on to the existing Polar Continental Shelf Project research base, which is already the largest in the community ….”
  • The new Canada-U.S. border agreement will be unveiled at the White House by Barack Obama and Stephen Harper in early December. When they read it, some people will go ballistic. That’s because the Beyond the Border action plan, according to those who have watched the negotiations closely, is expected to include a new entry-exit system that will track everyone coming into or leaving Canada by land, sea or air. It will be part of the continental security perimeter that is one of the key elements of the accord. Colin Robertson, the former trade diplomat, argues in an article to be published next month in Policy Options magazine that an entry-exit system will enable the federal government to, among other things, ensure that landed immigrants are actually living in Canada. But the proposal will play to fears that the Conservatives are selling out this country’s sovereignty and undermining privacy rights in exchange for some illusory access to American markets. The anti-American crowd will be looking for something to bash. This should do nicely ….”

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