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Canada Announces Plan To Resettle Yazidi Refugees

Canada's Immigration Minister recently announced the government's plan to resettle Yazidi refugees.

Ever since U.S. President Donald Trump was inaugurated, he has wasted no time cracking down on immigration. His executive order that banned immigrants from Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. received backlash around the world. In a largely unprecedented move, many American federal judges even refused to uphold his order and challenged its constitutionality. Many have looked to Canada to see how it would respond in the face of its neighbour’s strict immigration policies. While Trump’s orders made his popularity plummet, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau consistently lauded Canada’s diversity and inclusivity. Now, a new Liberal policy will turn his words into further action.

Who Are The Yazidis?

The Canadian Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen recently announced that approximately 400 survivors of ISIS have already entered Canada. The majority of these survivors are Yazidis from Iraq. These survivors have been coming into the country since the House of Commons unanimously agreed that Canada should take in Yazidi women and girls. Last year, the Conservatives made a motion to provide asylum to Yazidi women fleeing from genocide. The motion stipulated that ISIS is forcing the Yazidi women and girls to be sex slaves, and executing a genocide against their people as a whole. By the end of 2017, the Canadian government is aiming to resettle 1,200 Yazidi refugees. In addition to Yazidi women and children, these refugees will also include their male family members, and additional ISIS survivors.

While many have praised Canada for welcoming refugees fleeing terror, others do acknowledge that welcoming immigrants comes at a cost. News reports have claimed that resettling the Yazidi refugees will cost an estimated $28 million.

Next Steps

The government — and Canadians at large — must ultimately decide how many Yazidis to continue accepting in future. The international community applauded Canada for welcoming Syrian refugees with open arms, but it remains to be seen to what extent the same approach will be taken with the Yazidis. The government has already emphasized one notable difference in how it will resettle the Yazidis in comparison to previous groups. Given the volatile situation in Iraq, the government plans on acting with heightened discretion. As a result, it will minimize public photo opportunities and media coverage of Yazidis for security reasons.

Featured image source: CBC

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Trump’s Appointment Of Kushner Violates Anti-Nepotism Law

The announcement that Donald Trump was appointing his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to the position of senior advisor on Monday left us all with a few questions. Firstly, who the hell is this guy? Secondly, is he going to step down from his position as executive of the Kushner Companies real estate empire? Or are conflicts of interest just the name of the game in this administration? Finally, is this move even legal?

In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson passed the anti-nepotism statute. It stated that no federal official could hire someone in their family to work under them. This stands in stark contrast to the capitalist world that Trump hails from, where nepotism has always been de rigeur. So naturally, he’s trying to get around this pesky rule. Since Kushner is apparently so talented that he could, according to Trump, “do peace in the Middle East”, he’s clearly essential to the new administration.

To combat this, Trump is trotting out a court opinion from 1993 and a separate provision of federal law from 1978 stating that the president could appoint White House staff “without any regard to any other provision of law”. He’s claiming that this means that the anti-nepotism law was never meant to apply to the White House but only for other elected government officials.

Henceforth, many legal experts are skeptical of this claim. Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, is one of them. “Congress didn’t in this law carve out an exception for the White House,” she said. “It’s quite broad in scope. It applies to the executive branch, the legislative branch, the judicial branch, the D.C. government.”

Kushner has been meeting with lawyers about the issue and plans to forgo a salary if needed to keep the position. Granted, he doesn’t need a salary as he already makes tons of money from his global real estate empire. Although this brings up the whole ethics issue.

What do you think of this move? Sound off in the comments below!

Source: Salon

Image source: Salon

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Dakota Access Pipeline Construction To Be Halted

The thousands of protestors gathered at Standing Rock recently gained cause to celebrate. After months of activism and peaceful protests, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will halt construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline.

At this point, construction of the four-state, 1,885 km pipeline is mostly complete. Engineers planned on building the remainder of the pipeline underneath Lake Oahe, which is a Missouri River reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

Over the past several months, the $3.8 billion pipeline’s construction attracted much controversy. Many travelled to Standing Rock to protest the pipeline’s construction, amidst media reports of increasing tensions between protestors and police.

Critics considered the construction of the pipeline to threaten drinking water and infringe on sacred Native lands. Located north of Cannonball River, Oceti Sakowin Camp represents the largest sacred site that protestors argued would be harmed by the pipeline.

The Assistant Secretary for Civil Works said that the need to “explore alternate routes” for the pipeline ultimately halted its construction. Many consider this a hugely optimistic sign that persistent peaceful protests can be effective. Moreover, critics of the pipeline applaud the decision for respecting Indigenous land.

But for many protestors, the fight remains ongoing. While this decision certainly marks a victory for protestors, the fate of the pipeline ultimately remains to be seen. Many protestors — who consider themselves to be water protectors — remain nervous about Trump’s plan when he takes office. During the presidential election campaign, President-Elect Donald Trump voiced his support for the pipeline. It remains unclear whether he can — or will — choose to resume construction during his presidency.

After the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer announced that the pipeline’s construction would be stopped, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe released a statement of their own, thanking protestors and applauding Obama’s administration. Of course, the decision to halt construction has not been met with universal acclaim. Unsurprisingly, Energy Transfer Partners — the company behind the construction of the pipeline — as well as North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer and Paul Ryan have all slammed the decision.

For more on this story, visit the CBC. Featured image source: The Huffington Post.

 

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