Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has formally committed to removing visa requirements for Mexican citizens entering Canada, a policy imposed by the Conservative government in 2009 to stem the flow of Mexicans seeking asylum here.
Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto said that Trudeau confirmed the commitment during a face-to-face meeting with Canada’s new prime minister at the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey.
“Justin Trudeau confirmed that he has signalled his cabinet to remove in the future the Canadian visa requirement for Mexicans,” Pena Nieto wrote in Spanish in a post on Twitter Sunday.
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said Trudeau discussed mutual issues with Pena Nieto, including climate change, and “reiterated the [election] platform commitment to lift the visa requirement on Mexican citizens.”
The requirement had become an irritant between the two countries with the Mexican ambassador saying in 2013 he was “really mad” at Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.
Olivier Duchesneau, the deputy director of communications for Trudeau, could not say when Mexicans would be able to travel to Canada without a visa, but told CBC News by phone today that the prime minister had instructed members of his cabinet to move forward with the change.
In a campaign to improve its image abroad, the Israeli government plans to provide scholarships to hundreds of students at its seven universities in exchange for their making pro-Israel Facebook posts and tweets to foreign audiences.
The students making the posts will not reveal online that they are funded by the Israeli government, according to correspondence about the plan revealed in the Haaretz newspaper.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, which will oversee the programme, confirmed its launch and wrote that its aim was to “strengthen Israeli public diplomacy and make it fit the changes in the means of information consumption”.
The government’s hand is to be invisible to the foreign audiences. Daniel Seaman, the official who has been planning the effort, wrote in a letter on 5 August to a body authorising government projects that “the idea requires not making the role of the state stand out and therefore it is necessary to adhere to great involvement of the students themselves, without political linkage or affiliation”.
According to the plan, students are to be organised into units at each university, with a chief co-ordinator who receives a full scholarship, three desk co-ordinators for language, graphics and research who receive lesser scholarships and students termed “activists” who will receive a “minimal scholarship”.
Mr Netanyahu’s aides said the main topics the units would address related to political and security issues, combating calls to boycott Israel and combating efforts to question Israel’s legitimacy. The officials said the students would stress Israeli democratic values, freedom of religion and pluralism.
But Alon Liel, the doveish former director-general of the Israeli foreign ministry, criticised the plan as “quite disgusting”. “University students should be educated to think freely. When you buy the mind of a student, he becomes a puppet of the Israeli government grant,” he said. “You can give a grant to do social work or teach but not to do propaganda on controversial issues for the government.”
(Photo Credit: Daily Slave)
Editor’s Note: This article was published August 2013.
There is no FOI [Freedom Of Information] proof that Mr Abbott has renounced his British citizenship. It seems he has stood for parliament on 8 occasions as a dual national, well aware that doing so is in contravention of the constitution. This goes beyond forgetfulness into the realms of possibly intent to defraud the Commonwealth.
Did Tony Abbott ever renounce his British citizenship - a mandatory step in order to run for office in Australia? One blogger sought out the documents that would prove the Prime Minister renounced his citizenship to the UK, but to no avail. After questioning the National Archive (where such documentation would be held), the Prime Minister’s office and the British Home Office for evidence, to hit roadblocks at every turn, we have to wonder. If he did renounce his citizenship and is a full citizen of Australia, he should have nothing to hide. So why were emails deleted, and information denied to curious Australian citizens?
(x), (x), (x) and sign the petition asking for these documents to be releasedhere on change.org.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with leaders from five national aboriginal organizations before the end of the year, CBC News has learned.
It will be the first time in a decade that a Canadian prime minister meets with the organizations, which include: the Assembly of First Nations, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Métis National Council; and the Native Women’s Association of Canada.
The meeting will take place around the release of the complete report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said a source inside the Prime Minister’s Office.
While the meeting will take place in Ottawa, an exact date remains to be determined, the source said.
Trudeau promised to implement all of the 94 recommendations made by the commission when its first report was released in June, including the launch of a national public inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.
The chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Judge Murray Sinclair, released the report after six years of hearings and testimony from more than 6,000 residential school survivors and their loved ones.
Canada’s provincial and territorial leaders met with the national aboriginal organizations in July to discuss a range of issues, including ending violence against aboriginal women and girls, as well as graduation rates among aboriginal students.
The last time the five national aboriginal organizations met with a sitting prime minister was a decade ago when Paul Martin and his ministers met with their representatives in 2005.
Stephen Harper held two high-profile meetings with First Nations during his final mandate as prime minister.
In what was described as a historic Crown-First Nations gathering, hundreds of chiefs met with the Governor General, Harper and a dozen of his cabinet members on Jan. 24, 2012.
Soaking: Furious firefighters turned their hoses on police manning
barricades set up to protect Belgium’s prime minister’s office from the
protesters in 2012
THE Fire Brigades Union set alight government plans yesterday to hand control of Britain’s fire services to the police.
The government wants to transfer control of fire services to police
and crime commissioners (PCCs), removing control from fire authorities
which are made up of councillors from local authorities.
The union warned that removing the fire services from democratically
accountable control would put public safety at risk and jeopardise the
trust and respect in which firefighters are held.
It wrote to the Home Office yesterday expressing its opposition to the proposals.
Warnings to the government included that the move will “disrupt
industrial relations” and that PCCs have “no place” in the fire and
rescue service or have any mandate to run such services.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “Firefighters provide a
humanitarian service and this just does not mix with law enforcement.
“Firefighters rely heavily on public trust in order to gain access to
their homes, not just to extinguish fires but for all the safety checks
they do, the fitting of smoke alarms and other work in the community
such as keeping an eye on vulnerable people and the elderly.”
He warned that if PCCs are allowed to take over the running of the
fire and rescue service there is “no doubt” that public safety will be
“put severely at risk.”
Mr Wrack said: “PCCs may hope for a share in the popularity
firefighters enjoy with the public, but neither firefighters nor the
public will benefit from this association with law enforcement.
“We have already had cases where firefighters were asked to pitch in and help with evictions — this is simply not their role.
To be linked with police in this way will be extremely damaging.
“The two cultures are completely different.”
The FBU leader added that the PCC mode of governance is “significantly less democratic” than the current fire authority model.
Israel has announced it will pay university students to circulate pro-Israeli information on social media networks, without having to identify themselves as working for the government.
The move was publicised in a statement from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, the Associated Press reported. Students will receive scholarships to “engage international audiences online” and combat anti-Semitism and calls to boycott Israel, it was alleged.
In 2012, a Palestinian-run blog reported similar arrangements between the National Union of Israeli Students and the Israeli government. Students would be paid $2,000 to post pro-Israel messages online for five hours a week.
According to Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, the most recent proposition is being spearheaded by Danny Seaman, who was slammed by the media for writing anti-Muslim messages on Facebook.
Students will be organised into units at each university, with a chief co-ordinator who receives a full scholarship, three desk co-ordinators for language, graphics and research who receive lesser scholarships and students termed “activists” who will receive a “minimal scholarship”, the Independent reported.
The Prime Minister’s Office directed Canadian immigration officials to stop processing one of the most vulnerable classes of Syrian refugees this spring and declared that all UN-referred refugees would require approval from the Prime Minister, a decision that halted a critical aspect of Canada’s response to a global crisis.
The Globe and Mail has learned that the Prime Minister intervened in a file normally handled by the Citizenship and Immigration department in the months before dramatic images of a dead toddler brought the refugee crisis to the fore. The processing stop, which was not disclosed to the public, was in place for at least several weeks. It is unclear when it was lifted. At the same time, an audit was ordered of all Syrian refugees referred by the United Nations in 2014 and 2015. […]
As a result of the halt, and the additional layers of scrutiny, families that had fled Syria and were judged by the United Nations refugee agency to be in need of resettlement had to wait longer to find refuge in Canada. It also meant there were fewer cases of UN-referred Syrians approved and ready for sponsorship when the public came forward in large numbers after the drowning death of three-year-old Alan Kurdi in August. […]
At the United Nations in late October 123 countries voted in favour of a recommendation endorsing the launch of negotiations aimed at prohibiting nuclear weapons. Canada voted no. Douglas Roche, this country’s former Ambassador for Disarmament at the UN, is clearly piqued. “The government turned its back on an important nuclear disarmament initiative,” he says, “and sided with the nuclear weapons states that want to keep and modernize their nuclear arsenals for the rest of the 21st century.”
Roche adds, “the blame for the Canadian diplomatic debacle belongs squarely on the desk of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose office won’t even answer letters or phone calls from high-ranking persons trying to alert him to the need for Canadian action.” Roche says that Trudeau seems “disengaged” on nuclear arms control and that his government has undermined the nuclear disarmament work championed by his father Pierre Trudeau.
Therein lays an irony. During the waning months of his time in office in 1983, Pierre Trudeau engaged in shuttle diplomacy featuring stops in Moscow, Washington and the capitals of other nuclear powers. He urged them to call a halt to the nuclear arms race. No such diplomacy has brought to bear by Justin Trudeau, whose sunny ways rhetoric is beginning to wear thin.
National Women’s Day is an annual public holiday in South Africa, celebrated on 9 August.
On 9 August 1956, more than 50 000 women marched on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest pass laws that required Black South Africans to carry a ‘pass’. This pass restricted where the bearer was allowed to live, work, and travel. Black South Africans had to carry their ‘pass’ at all times, and were often arrested if they could not produce it. After dropping off petitions with more than 100 000 signatures at the Prime Minister’s offices, the women stood in silence for 30 minutes. A song was composed in honour of the occasion, Wathint’ Abafazi Wathint’ imbokodo! (Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock!)
This display of female solidarity and inner strength showed how women were an integral part of the freedom struggle. The holiday reminds us of the women who helped change South Africa and the women who continue to shape the country.
The 9th of August is known as ‘Women’s Day’ in South Africa. I have compiled a list of some of my favourite literary quotations about women to celebrate the day.
The Top 12 Literary Quotes About Women for Women’s Day
Every word a woman writes changes the story of the world, revises the official version. ~Carolyn See
I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves. ~Mary Wollstonecraft
The domestic career is no more natural to all women than the military career is natural to all men. ~ George Bernard Shaw
It is only rarely that one can see in a little boy the promise of a man, but one can almost always see in a little girl the threat of a woman. ~Alexandre Dumas, fils
Men at most differ as Heaven and Earth, but women, worst and best, as Heaven and Hell. ~Alfred Lord Tennyson
Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, “She doesn’t have what it takes.” They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes.” ~Clare Boothe Luce
How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself. ~Anaïs Nin
It’s wonderful to watch a pretty woman with character grow beautiful. ~Mignon McLaughlin
Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim. ~Nora Ephron
A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it. ~D.H. Lawrence
If you have any doubts that we live in a society controlled by men, try reading down the index of contributors to a volume of quotations, looking for women’s names. ~Elaine Gill
I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass. ~Maya Angelou
Canada’s Olympic Champions meet Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
Jul 7, 2010 - By Skate Canada
It started with a formal email invitation, and wound up being a moment that they will treasure forever. Canada’s Olympic and World ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were invited by the Prime Minister’s Office to the state dinner in honour of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on Monday evening in Toronto.
One rented tux, a gorgeous green dress and a major power outage later, they were seated at the head table, and enjoyed dinner with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh at the Royal York Hotel.
Tessa shared a few thoughts about how the special day unfolded!
Sunday night – 9:30 p.m. It was surprising enough to receive an invitation from the Prime Minister to meet the Queen of England and The Duke of Edinburgh, but on the eve of the big event, we got an official invitation to join the Royals at the HEAD TABLE! WOW! We were floored! What an incredible honour - but what could we have possibly done to deserve this privilege??!!!
Monday morning Scott rented a tux - very 007; classic and sharp. So after picking that up - and waiting while the sleeves were lengthened - we were on our way to Toronto for the big adventure. Scott was driving and we had the tunes blaring – even our new free dance music was on the CD I made for the trip. We made good time, probably because there was very little traffic (not because Scott was driving fast ?) – we even had time to grab lunch at East Side Mario’s beside our hotel – The Intercontinental. Everything was going smoothly! Until…..
Monday afternoon …immediately after I got out of the shower - before blow-drying my hair - the power went out!!!! Getting ready without much light and sans hair appliances was challenging to say the least. Of all times for a power outage!!! Scott and I have a little experience handling stress and managed to pull ourselves together as you can see in the photos!!! Off we marched, in the sweltering heat, across the street to the Royal York.
Monday evening We registered and entered an opulent grand ballroom. At this point my main concern shifted to not spilling anything on my dress and to not tripping. There was a sophisticated reception abuzz with glamorous guests – we met so many distinguished people! It was great to see one of our friends, Jennifer Heil, Olympic mogul skier and reminisce about the Games!
The time came to proceed through the receiving line - Prime Minister Harper, Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Mrs. Harper. Hand shake, curtsy/bow, curtsy/bow, hand shake - did that really just happen?????
Dinner was incredible - we were two of ten people at the head table. This once-in-a lifetime experience was better than I ever dreamed it could be - the grace, charm and kindness expressed by Her Majesty and His Royal Highness was astonishing and heart-warming!
The Canadian Tenors performed three songs after dessert- the energy in the room was so united and electrifying! The night ended with the Tenors singing O Canada and everyone joining in. What a proud moment! Scott and I were absolutely overwhelmed by the magnitude of the entire evening!!!
Monday night We exited the Royal York Hotel on cloud nine (and carrying Your Majesty The Queen and Your Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh’s place cards from the dinner table). We’d met so many inspirational people and experienced something most people only dream about!
Scott added his thoughts about the event as well. “Oh my, it was an unbelievable evening. Of course Tessa looked stunning in her green dress and it was such an honour to be seated at the same table as Her Majesty, His Royal Highness and The Right Honourable Stephen Harper. I really enjoyed the company of General Walter Natynczyk who had fascinating stories about inspiring our troops overseas and his experiences with the Snowbirds. The whole evening went by so quickly and it was just another opportunity for us to realize how lucky we are to be Canadian and celebrate that with The Queen of Canada herself!”
Critics of Stephen Harper’s government have called his Conservative MPs mindless robots for years.
After all, Conservative MP Peter Goldring was once likened to a cyborg after revealing that he frequently wears a video recording device. And former Conservative turned independent MP Brent Rathgeber once described his former colleagues as “trained seals” who are so tightly scripted by the Prime Minister’s Office, Rathgeber suggests they no longer “represent their constituents in Ottawa.”
But what if Harper’s critics are wrong? What if it is more than just a metaphor? What if Conservative MPs really, truly, seriously are… Robots?
After 13 Conservative MPs uploaded eerily similar videos to Youtube this week, wherein the MPs read word-for-word from the exact same script, what other explanation could there be?
In the early hours of the morning, the night-time security shift at Number 10 was alerted to an intruder on the ground floor. Someone was trying to break into the Prime Minister’s office. They arrived on the scene to find that it was Gordon Brown. He had come down from the flat before sunrise to start work and made the frustrating discovery that he couldn’t get through the locked door…The habit of ringing up at all times of day and night sometimes exhausted the patience of even his most devoted followers. Ed Miliband became so worn down by the demands for twenty-four-hour attention that he once took Brown’s mobile when the boss wasn’t looking and erased his number from the phone’s memory.
Gordon Brown’s overworking ways nearly get him arrested.
Sources tell CTV News that a temporary halt to the processing of some Syrian refugees was ordered earlier this year to make sure the types favoured by the Prime Minister’s Office were being prioritized.
Department of Citizenship and Immigration insiders told CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife that PMO staff went through the files to ensure that persecuted religious minorities with established communities already in Canada – ones that Conservative Leader Stephen Harper could court for votes – were being accepted.Insiders say PMO actively discouraged the department from accepting applications from Shia and Sunni Muslims.
Private applications, which are often from church groups, were allowed to continue while the rest were on hold.
But the Conservatives said the halt was needed so that an audit could be untaken to protect public safety.
He’s the telegenic 44-year-old son of a charismatic former Prime Minister. He took office last November. He is known for appointing a half-female cabinet, frolicking with pandas, and once TKO-ed a senator in a boxing match. As Washington hosts the first Canadian state visit in 19 years, here are a few other things to know about Justin Trudeau:
1. His government just took in 25,000 Syrian refugees.
Trudeau ran on a campaign pledge of accepting 25,000 Syrian refugees and made good on the promise in February. (The U.S., with a population nine times that of Canada, will take only 10,000 this year.) In December, the prime minister personally greeted arriving refugee families in Toronto and was photographed fitting children for winter coats. The Obama administration applauded the policy, but security concerns have been raised on Capitol Hill. “Will there be shortcuts taken? Is that something that really ought to concern Americans here, as Canada is really ramping up?” said Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, at a hearing last month.
Officials at the Department of Homeland Security have emphasized that the U.S. is in close touch with Canadian authorities to vet the refugees. “All the refugees being brought into Canada are being checked against not only Canadian databases but against U.S. databases,” said Alan Bersin, assistant secretary for international affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland, stated at an event Tuesday hosted by POLITICO and sponsored by the Canadian American Business Council.
“Canada is doing a very thorough job and is sharing and exchanging information.” added Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
As part of this week’s bilateral meeting, the administration is seeking even greater information sharing about people crossing the border with Canada. In particular, the two countries have been working on a program referred to as “Entry/Exit” in which records of travelers entering one country are shared with the other government as a record of exit. Trudeau and Obama “will be announcing a number of developments,” Bersin said.
2. He’s pro-trade but has yet to embrace TPP
The Trudeau government says it’s pro-trade and recently inked a trade deal with the European Union. However, Trudeau has stopped short of embracing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — which was signed by the previous Conservative government. Obama would love to have Trudeau endorse the deal before it comes to a vote in the Congress. “It’s obviously very, very high on the agenda; among all the trade issues, it’s probably the top,” Mark Feierstein, senior director for Western Hemisphere at the National Security Council, told reporters this week. However, the Trudeau government has promised public consultations before it approves the agreement. To help facilitate cross-border trade — some 2.4 billion worth of goods and services per day — both countries are also continuing to work on authorizing an expanded pre-clearance system of screening people and goods before they leave either country by air sea, land and rail. Trudeau is also seeking a new agreement on softwood lumber, a perennial trade irritant between both countries.
3. Trudeau wants to be a leader on climate—but it’s hard
The prime minister ran on a platform of tackling climate change and arrived at Paris climate talks as an advocate of international action, but his government’s own projections show that Canada will fall short of its greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals for 2020. The prime minister does not have the same far-reaching regulatory powers as the president and has to work with provincial leaders to make change. At a meeting with provincial premiers last week, Trudeau was unable to reach an agreement on carbon pricing, though talks will continue.
Moreover, Trudeau came to power at a time when low oil prices have hurt the oil patch in energy-rich Alberta, hurting both federal and provincial government revenues. While the Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper was an aggressive advocate for oil pipelines, Trudeau has said he will bring in an energy pipeline approval process that will require companies to achieve a “social license” to operate. President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline to the Gulf Coast, and other pipeline projects to bring oil to the East and West Coasts are also facing obstacles. The emerging regional tensions are stirring the ghosts of the 1980s when Trudeau’s father attempted to impose taxes on producers and nationalize parts of the sector, feeding an attitude of “western alienation.”
4. Trudeau is pulling fighter jets out of fight against ISIS
Making good on a campaign pledge, Trudeau has pulled Canada’s fighter jets out of the coalition against ISIS. However, he said he would triple the number of trainers in northern Iraq. While continuing to urge Canada to increase its level of military spending, the White House praised Trudeau’s moves as “very much in line with the coalition’s needs, including tripling Canada’s training mission in northern Iraq and increasing its intelligence efforts throughout the region.”
5. He was elected promising budget deficits
While many other western countries have embraced austerity and spending cuts, Trudeau campaigned on running a $10 billion deficit to help pay for infrastructure investments. Since taking office, his government has admitted that the deficits will grow significantly higher. “There are real fiscal constraints on this government,” political columnist John Ivison of the Canada’s National Post newspaper said at POLITICO’s event. “He found out that campaigning is much easier than governing.”
On that score, the new prime minister already has some common ground with the president.
Canada’s Immigration department had accumulated a backlog of nearly 7,500 applications from Syrian refugees by the time three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach at the beginning of September, the Citizen has learned.
Of those stuck in limbo, nearly 2,000 had been identified by the United Nations as being amongst the most vulnerable — and whose applications had been put on hold for at least several weeks by the Prime Minister’s Office in the spring.
So while Stephen Harper was personally meddling with those files so he could hand-pick the ones who would look best in a photo op, 7,500 people remained stuck in limbo.
I said before that Harper’s line about identifying the “most vulnerable” was absolute bullshit, and here’s the proof: the UN had already identified them.
This is disgusting. It’s vile. It’s knowingly leaving people to die for political gain. Fuck Harper.