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Politics Politics Briefing: Investigation shows soaring refusal rates for visitors to Canada

Good morning,

A growing number of people from around the world are applying for visas to visit Canada every year -- and a growing number of them are rejected. As a Globe and Mail investigation finds, nearly 26 per cent of visa applicants were denied last year and the rate at the beginning of this year is closer to 30 per cent. That represented nearly half a million people last year. The rate is even higher -- more than 75 per cent -- from war-torn countries such as Syria, Yemen and Somalia. The government often cites concerns that those applying to Canada would never go back to their home countries, though many visiting academics and human-rights activists are also caught in the net.

The investigation was conducted by Geoffrey York, the Globe’s Africa correspondent based in Johannesburg, and Michelle Zilio, a member of our Ottawa bureau who reports on foreign relations and foreign aid.

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This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa and James Keller in Vancouver. If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this e-mail newsletter to you, you can sign up for Politics Briefing and all Globe newsletters here. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Latvia today, visiting a Canadian military deployment of 450 soldiers that is part of a NATO mission to deter Russian advancement into eastern Europe. Leaders of NATO countries meet in Belgium starting Wednesday.

Mr. Trudeau is expected to shuffle his cabinet this summer.

Canadians support the way Mr. Trudeau has handled trade conflicts, including the talks to renegotiate the North American free-trade agreement, a new Nanos poll suggests. More than 70 per cent supported the Prime Minister in his dealings with the mercurial U.S. President. Respondents also supported aid to the steel and aluminum industries affected by recent U.S. tariffs, but were mixed on whether to extend support to the auto industry in the event of tariffs there. (Nik Nanos theorizes one reason may be because so many auto companies are foreign-owned.)

Bombardier chief executive officer Alain Bellemare says there is no systemic issue with corruption at his company.

A judge has approved a proposed class-action lawsuit filed by Indigenous people who say they lost their culture and suffered abuse in government-run day schools — claims that aren’t covered by the existing residential school settlement. First Nations, Métis and Inuit people who were forced, as children, to attend these schools say they suffered similar atrocities.

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The United Nations is threatening to withdraw a world-heritage park designation from an area in Alberta in the face of development linked to the oil sands. Teck Resources Ltd. is proposing an oil sands mining operation near Wood Buffalo National Park, where wildlife habitat is deteriorating because of development.

Canada’s police chiefs say they likely won’t have enough officers trained to detect drug-impaired drivers by the time marijuana is legalized this fall.

In the United States, President Donald Trump is set to unveil his next pick for the Supreme Court today, which could have ramifications for decades. (The National Post collected a few reasons why the top court is so less political in Canada.)

And in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Theresa May has lost her point person on Brexit. The country is set to leave the European Union next year.

Elizabeth Renzetti (The Globe and Mail) on feminism debates: “Frankly, I’m just thrilled that people still care. If you’d told me 25 years ago, when I started writing about this stuff, that one day the leading politicians in this country would be fighting over who’s a better feminist, I would have told you to check the expiry date on your magic mushrooms. Yet, here we are in 2018, and it’s like feminist mixed martial arts out there. This is not necessarily a bad thing.”

Robyn Urback (CBC) on the groping allegations against Mr. Trudeau: “ Indeed, we should not ignore misconduct in cases where the target of an unwelcome advance wants her privacy. If nothing else, it would suggest that we cannot right a wrong unless a victim actively participates. But we should strive to be able to both protect women and to hold powerful men to account.”

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Lisa Austin (The Globe and Mail) on the economic uses of data: “ As many have said, data is the new oil, and economic prosperity requires its extraction and processing. Within this framework, privacy becomes a competing claim of control – a kind of “ownership” claim to be carefully balanced against the ownership claims of those doing the extracting and generating economic gains.“

David Shribman (The Globe and Mail) on Trump’s Supreme Court pick: “ Should Mr. Trump choose a conservative judge, as is likely, current policies and practices could be potentially eroded, if not actually overturned, by repeated 5-4 votes. Among the matters that could be affected are legal abortion, same-sex marriage, voting rights and even the Obamacare health scheme.”

David Leonhardt (New York Times) on Trump’s Supreme Court pick: “Over the last half-century, conservatives have put more energy into building a movement — creating ideological institutions, grooming judges and, perhaps above all, winning local, state and congressional elections. Democrats have emphasized higher-profile politics, like the presidency and landmark court cases. Democrats can’t afford to do so any more.”

Barrie McKenna (The Globe and Mail) on boycotting the U.S.: “So yes, by all means, boycott away if it makes you feel better. But don’t think for a minute that doing so will bring Mr. Trump to his knees.”

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Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop

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If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

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