Politics & Policy

Bigger European fleet sought

Adm. James Foggo, the U.S. commander of Naval Forces Europe, says he needs more ships to provide presence, training and crisis response capability in his area of responsibility. He says there have been more Russian surface vessels, submarines and aircraft in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans and the Baltic, Black and Mediterranean seas even as political tensions increase. The U.S. 6th Fleet within NFE has four destroyers, two fast transports and a command ship. [node:read-more:link]

Scheer would cut foreign aid

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer isn’t worried that Canada might not get a seat on the UN Security Council because of a 25 per cent foreign aid cut he proposes. “It’s more important to me that I help Canadians get ahead than curry favour at the United Nations,” he said, explaining that the cuts would focus on funding for “middle- and upper-income countries” and “hostile regimes.” [node:read-more:link]

Israel threatened anew by Iran

Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, says his country’s goal of destroying Israel is “achievable.” Reiterating earlier threat by various Iranian leaders, he says “this sinister regime must be wiped off the map.” He also has broached “the global mobilization of Islam." [node:read-more:link]

Municipal gun control “wrong”

A Toronto emergency physician has rejected as impracticable the federal government’s proposal to empower municipalities to restrict handguns by working through the provincial governments and territories. Dr. Joel Lexchin said at a public event with Prime Minister Trudeau that it makes no sense for one city to impose a ban if others nearby do not.“The federal government needs to ... show leadership and do a national ban,” he said. [node:read-more:link]

One-China policy reasserted

President Xi Jinping celebrated the 70thanniversary of the People’s Republic of China by saying there is “no force that can shake the foundation of this great nation. He also highlighted ongoing riots in Hong Kong, saying China remains “committed to the strategy of peaceful reinforcement of one country two systems” with the eventual goal of “complete unification.”  [node:read-more:link]

Defence and Security non-issues?

Details about proposals and solutions in the defence and security sectors are mostly buried in the Liberal, NDP and Green election campaign platforms. The Conservatives did issue a policy statement last spring but have yet to unveil their platform. Independent policy experts say this is inappropriate. [node:read-more:link]

Iran-U.S. mediation fails

An attempt by French President Emmanuel Macron to mediate in the escalating dispute between the U.S. and Iran has fallen flat. While President Donald Trump waited on a phone line Macron had arranged during the leaders’ recent visit to the UN, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani decided not to follow up on the offer of a secure conversation. [node:read-more:link]

Another Trump phone call

President Donald Trump is said to have pressed Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to help Attorney General William Barr to gather information for a Justice Department inquiry that Trump apparently hoped would discredit the Mueller investigation, according to two American officials with knowledge of the call. At Barr’s request, the White House limited access to details of the call to a small group of aides. [node:read-more:link]

Fixing Border Security Gaps

Out-of-date enforcement mandates and insufficient staffing in Canada have led to alarming failures. Whatever the election outcome, addressing continuing policy gaps at the border should get priority soon. Many of these are longstanding issues.  [node:read-more:link]

Limiting lobbyists’ leverage

The U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, created in 1972 with a mandate to help federal politicians make informed decisions about complex issues, was shut down in 1995 by the Republican-controlled Congress. Elizabeth Warren, widely touted as a potential Democratic Party challenger in next year’s presidential election, wants to resurrect it. She says Congress now relies heavily on lobbyists whom she says “use their resources and expertise to overpower the needs and wishes of ordinary people.” [node:read-more:link]

Defence Security University

The Department of Defense has finally inaugurated its Defense Security Cooperation University in the hope of improving how it supports allies and other partners against threats. The project was proposed two years ago. [node:read-more:link]

Impeachment gains traction in Washington

U.S. Republican Party leaders say the Senate is bound by congressional rules to take action if the House of Representatives approves articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. “The rules of impeachment are clear on this,” they say. “If the House were to act, the Senate immediately goes into a trial.” [node:read-more:link]

Hungary remaining in EU

Despite ongoing friction on a number of fronts, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban says he has no plans to take his country out of the European Union. However, he also says eastern and western members must compromise about the bloc’s future. Among other things, Orban and other leaders have been at loggerheads over his refusal to accept migrants under an EU quota scheme. [node:read-more:link]

Tighter U.S. border

Immigration lawyers in British Columbia and Washington state say there is a troubling rise in the number of Canadians being refused entry by U.S. immigration officers. One says there is more “very indiscriminate” scrutiny of home ownership, employment and finances which indicate ties to Canada and a reason to return. [node:read-more:link]

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