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Canada Tag

Sources have said radical Islamic group Abu Sayyaf have beheaded Canadian hostage Robert Hall since they did not receive an $8 million ransom. The group murdered Canadian John Ridsdel in April. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the executions:
"With the tragic loss of two Canadians, I want to reiterate that terrorist hostage-takings only fuel more violence and instability. Canada will not give into their fear-mongering tactics and despicable attitude toward the suffering of others," Trudeau said in a statement. "This is precisely why the government of Canada will not and cannot pay ransoms for hostages to terrorists groups."

The Canadian parliament wants to make the English-only version of its national anthem gender neutral. The bill will change the lyric "in all thy sons command" to "in all of us command." Why the change? Because it's 2016, you guys!! From MRC-TV:
New Democrat MP Christine Moore said, “We are in 2016. The Canadian population will understand why we want to make the change. It is not a big change, and there will not be a big difference in the national anthem, but the difference is significant for women all across Canada.” “It is the right time to do it. Let us make our national anthem inclusive,” she continued. Liberal MP Greg Fergus, who also supports the bill, said, “This year, 2016, marks the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote. Next year we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. It would be nice if we stopped excluding women from their national anthem.”

Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers to the rescue again! He tackled a protestor who attempted to interrupt a memorial service in Dublin. The name should ring a bell since Vickers shot gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau in 2014 when he ambushed Parliament Hill. Vickers served as the House of Commons sergeant-at-arms at the time.

Mother Nature has engaged our neighbors to the North in a battle, as a massive wildfire has consumed the forests around the oil-sands region of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada since May 1. The Canadians may finally be making some progress in containing the conflagration after one-week of intense fire-fighting.
Canadian officials showed some optimism on Sunday they were beginning to get on top of the country's most destructive wildfire in recent memory, as favorable weather helped firefighters and winds took the flames southeast, away from oil sands boomtown Fort McMurray. There was still no time line, however, for getting Fort McMurray's 88,000 inhabitants back into what remains of their town, or when energy companies would be able to restart operations at evacuated sites nearby. The wildfires have cut Canada's vast oil sands output in half. "It definitely is a positive point for us, for sure," said Alberta fire official Chad Morrison in a news briefing, when asked if the fight to contain the flames had a reached a turning point. "We're obviously very happy that we've held the fire better than expected," said Morrison. "This is great firefighting weather, we can really get in here and get a handle on this fire, and really get a death grip on it."

A Toronto-based Black Lives Matter organizer, Yusra Khogali, tweeted about killing, "men and white folks," in February before deleting the tweet and locking her account. According to Newstalk 1010:
Many are now calling for a police investigation, calling the tweet 'hate speech'. There's been no comment from Ali yet, but NEWSTALK 1010 has contacted Black Lives Matter and we've yet to hear a response. Believe it or not, the tweet had five 'likes' before it was removed. Shortly after, Ali locked down her twitter account. But there was even one response that said "praying for ya... to destroy them."

McGill University in Montreal was the latest effort by anti-Israel students to pass a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions motion. Initially, at a student assembly packed by BDS supporters, the motion passed:
The Student Society of McGill University has voted to boycott Israel. The idea came up for a vote twice before in the last 18 months at McGill University, and was put forward again Monday night by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. This time, it succeeded. “What we basically did is write a motion and brought it to the general assembly at our student union today. The motion is on boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel,” said Laura Khoury of the McGill BDS Action Network. Close to 900 undergraduate students filled nearly four overflow rooms for the hour-long debate. Students voted 512 to 357 in favour of adopting the motion. While it may have been a small portion of the student population of 30,000, they say vote sends a message.

A coalition of anti-Israel students at the University of Waterloo obtained 4000 signatures to put a resolution to a full student body vote completely severing ties with several Israeli academic institutions:
In November 2015, the Federation of Students received a petition of over 4000 signatures to initiate a referendum for the following question:
"Do you think the University of Waterloo should sever ties with the following institutions due to their complicity in violations of the human rights of Palestinians: University of Haifa, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv University, and the Weizmann Institute of Science?"
As per the Feds by-laws, "A Referendum for any purpose connected with the affairs of the Corporation may only be called by: A requisition in writing of either twenty-nine hundred (2900) voting members or at least ten percent (10%) of the voting members of the Corporation, whichever is fewer.." Feds President Chris Lolas was then to verify the validity of the signatures. It was determined that over 2900 signatures were from voting members of Feds, and a referendum was called.
The resolution would have been non-binding on the University, but would have committed student government to advocating for the boycott, including cancellation of a 2014 academic cooperation agreement with The Technion, frequently referred to as Israeli's MIT. This was not just a "divestment" resolution, it was a full-blown academic BDS resolution. The only other such vote I'm aware of in the U.S. was at Bowdoin College in May 2015, which overwhelmingly was rejected by the student body. After an intensive campaign from both the "Yes" and "No" (also here) sides, the results were just announced by the student government:

Canada joins the liberal leaders of the US and much of Europe and plans to go ahead with the admission of many thousands of Syrian refugees:
Canada plans to fly in 900 Syrian refugees a day as of next month, according to media reports, as the defense minister said showing compassion for these people sends a message to Islamic State extremists. Canadian officials said details of a plan to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees by year's end would be announced Tuesday. The Canadian media reports come amid fears that IS jihadists could slip into the country posing as refugees, in the wake of last week's attacks in Paris that killed at least 130 people.
The bill is projected to be 1.2 billion Canadian dollars. Canada has come up with a stupendous rationale for what they're doing. The liberal Canadian Minister of Defence (who is a Sikh, by the way, with what appears to be a pretty strong resume) has made some statements that are similar to the reasoning of liberals in this country as well:
This crisis is not just about a humanitarian project," he said in his opening remarks to military commanders and defense ministers from around the world. "This also sends a great message to ISIS that you might create this environment for us, but we will not let you take advantage of this," he said, using an alternate acronym for the IS group. "By doing our part for this, we are actually hitting ISIS in a different way as well."

[Some updating by WAJ] Our northern neighbors are having elections today. We're watching to see if Liberal Party's Justin Trudeau can unseat Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Keep in mind that Canada has a parliamentary system, so the next Prime Minister is like to come from a party with less than a majority. Veterans of Team Obama has been backing Trudeau, trying to unseat Harper just like they tried to unseat Bibi Netanyahu in Israel. The Liberal Party was leading in pre-election polling. We have live video and Twitter feeds below. A really cool, interactive map is here. You can refresh live vote counts here.

While most of us have been engrossed in the American election saga, our neighbor to the north is preparing for an Oct. 19th election that may be infused with some imported drama. As next week's election draws near, news is that conservative Stephen Harper is going to be replaced with the son a former leftist Prime Minister:
If current polling is to be believed – and recent election upsets in the UK and Israel have taught pundits to take polls with more than a pinch of salt – then Harper will not hold on to government. After languishing in third place for much of the campaign, the Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau - son of former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau - seem set to return to power. The victory will be particularly sweet here in Ajax, where four-term Liberal MP Mark Holland was routed in 2011 by Chris Alexander, formerly Canada’s ambassador to Afghanistan and now a immigration minister in the Conservative government.
True to form, President Obama cannot resist trying to exert some meaningful influence. Since he is apparently unable to do so in the Middle East, where it may actually help our nation, there are reports he is attempting to sway the Canadian vote.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had strong words for the attacker who opened fire at the National War Monument before moving on to the halls of Parliament in Ottawa on Wednesday. Harper's comments come in the wake of the fatal shooting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, who was a reservist in the Canadian Forces, by Muslim convert Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.
“This week’s events are a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world,” Harper said in his address to the nation. “We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and our institutions of governance are by their very nature attacks on our country, on our values, on our society, on us Canadians as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all. But let there be no misunderstanding. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.”
The attack began just before 10 am on Wednesday, when Zehaf-Bibeau fired on the ceremonial guard at a war memorial across the street from parliament. It was here that Corporal Nathan Cirillo was shot; he later died from his wounds. Zehaf-Bibeau then made his way past armed guards and into the building where MPs from both parties were caucusing. Kevin Vickers, the House of Commons sergeant-at-arms, shot Zehaf-Bibeau dead before anyone else was injured. CBC News has terrifying raw footage from inside Parliament's Centre Block:

Everyone knows that Israel's Knesset is a particularly contentious place, where views are shouted out with great emotion.  I don't believe they have the floor brawls that take place elsewhere, but it's not a place where rhetoric is held back. But when foreign dignitaries visit, that's a different matter entirely. I noted the other day Stephen Harper's wonderful speech before the Knesset, the first ever by a Canadian Prime Minister, Canadian PM Harper: Academic boycott part of “mutation of the old disease of anti-Semitism”. Unfortunately, two Arab members of the Knesset heckled him and walked out when he addressed the academic Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement and the malicious propaganda line -- repeated endlessly on campuses and among some academics -- that Israel is an Apartheid state. I think it's relevant that the heckling and walkout erupted at that moment of the speech.  It shows how important the BDS movement, born as a tactic at the openly anti-Semitic 2001 Durban NGO conference, is to the anti-Israel movement internationally and at home. The Blaze has details:
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was heckled by an Arab Israeli member of parliament during a speech in which he slammed those who call Israel an “apartheid” state. Knesset member Ahmed Tibi later stomped out of the room as Harper was speaking.... He criticized those who support a boycott of Israel, equating it with historical anti-Semitism. On some campuses, intellectualized arguments against Israeli policies thinly mask the underlying realities, such as the shunning of Israeli academics and the harassment of Jewish students. Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state,” Harper said during his Monday evening address.

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird gave a very strong speech (embedded at bottom of post) yesterday at the United Nations against the "nonmember" status for "Palestine," in violation of the Oslo Accords. Damn fine speech by #Canada.— Act for Israel (@ActForIsrael) November 29, 2012 Canada is following...

Robin Williams once said of Canada, "it's like a loft apartment overlooking a really great party." But a study released this week said that while the U.S. has been partying, it appeared that Canadians' net worth had leaped ahead of Americans': The average Canadian has quietly...

I've written many times about Rhode Island's public sector pension problem, which is like an albatross hung around the necks of taxpayers.  Although some reforms have been made, retiring at a relatively early age on full or near full salary forevever has created an absurd situation...