After Trump’s Relentless Hammering, Trudeau Just Caved and Denounced Iran

. . .[President Donald Trump is] relentlessly hammering the Islamic Republic of Iran for its support for terrorism and its own nuclear weapons programs. And despite criticism, there are signs it’s paying off, even among some Trump critics.

After the weekend’s G-7 summit of leading industrialized nations ended with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau engaging in a very public dispute with Trump over trade, that same Trudeau abruptly reversed his government’s course toward the mullahs in Tehran to one that’s much more in line with Trump’s position. . .

Led by a vote from the prime minister himself, Canada’s ruling Liberal Party voted in the country’s parliament on Tuesday to support a Conservative Party motion calling on the government to halt moves toward normalizing relations with Iran. . .

“Trudeau campaigned on restoring diplomatic relations with Iran, and this motion calls for the government to abandon its current plan and immediately cease any and all negotiations or discussion with the Islamic Republic of Iran to restore diplomatic relations.

“So what Trudeau did by standing up in support of an opposition MP’s mere motion was to signal a complete change in the Canadian government’s Iran policy. What had previously been characterized as a policy of appeasement now appears to be one rooted in toughness and holding the regime to account for their conduct.” (Read more from “After Trump’s Relentless Hammering, Trudeau Just Caved and Denounced Iran” HERE)

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International Group Confirms Sarin, Chlorine Used in Attack on Syrian City

By The Blaze. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons released a new report on Wednesday that said sarin and chlorine gases were “very likely” used as chemical weapons in a Syrian city on March 24-25, 2017.

The OPCW is an international organization that serves as the “implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention” of 1997. The OPCW is made up of 192 member states, including Syria, which signed the the agreement in 2013. . .

The report from the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission confirmed that sarin gas was “very likely used in the south of Ltamenah, Syrian Arab Republic, on 24 March 2017.” It also concluded that chlorine was “very likely used as a chemical weapon at Ltamenah Hospital and the surrounding area on 25 March 2017.”

Ltamenah, or Latamneh, is a village in northern Syria. According to reports, at least three people were killed and 32 were injured by the attack on March 25, in which a helicopter belonging to Syria’s air force dropped a barrel bomb containing chlorine gas on a hospital.

Under current rules, the OPCW can only tell if a chemical attack has taken place and not speculate on who caused it. The OPCW used to be able to assign blame, as part of a joint UN-OPCW mandate, but Russia vetoed the mandate’s renewal in November last year. (Read more from “International Group Confirms That Assad Likely Used Sarin, Chlorine in Attack on Syrian City” HERE)

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Syria War: OPCW Says Sarin Was Used in March 2017 Attack

By BBC. The global chemical weapons watchdog says the nerve agent Sarin and chlorine are very likely to have been used in attacks on a Syrian village last year.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded Sarin was used as a weapon in the south of rebel-held Latamina on 24 March 2017, and chlorine at its hospital the next day.

It did not assign blame for the incidents, in line with its mandate.

But activists said at the time the area was under attack by government forces.

The government has repeatedly denied ever using chemical weapons. (Read more from “Syria War: OPCW Says Sarin Was Used in March 2017 Attack” HERE)

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President Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize by Norwegian Lawmakers

Two Norwegian lawmakers have nominated President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and reaching an agreement to work toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Christian Tybring-Gjedde and Per-Willy Amundsen are members of Norway’s governing Progress Party and nominated the U.S. president the day after the Singapore summit, according to the Norwegian government-owned broadcaster NRK.

“What’s going on now is historic,” Per-Willy told NRK, according to Bloomberg. “A process is underway to ensure world peace in the future. It’s a fragile process, but we must of course do what we can to help this process bring good results.”

The lawmakers also told Norwegian news agency NTB that Trump “had taken a huge and important step in the direction of the disarmament, peace and reconciliation between North and South Korea,” The Associated Press reported.

Since the deadline for nominations for this year’s prize has already passed, Trump’s nomination will make him eligible for next year.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee — a committee of five people chosen by the Norwegian parliament who award the Nobel Peace Prize — receives hundreds of nominations to consider for the prize every year. This year, a record 330 people were nominated, according to Bloomberg.

This is not the first time that Trump has been nominated for the prize as a result of his efforts to bring peace to the Korean peninsula.

In April, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that Trump deserves to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in bringing about the denuclearization talks on the Korean peninsula and the possibility of an official end to decades-long war between North and South.

“President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize,” Moon is said to have told a meeting of senior secretaries, according to a Korean official who briefed the media. “What we need is only peace.”

Following the South Korean president’s informal nomination, a group of 18 Republican members of Congress signed their names to a letter formally nominating Trump for the prize in May.

The letter was sent by Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana to the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Wednesday and signed on to by 17 other House GOP members, including Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Diane Black and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Steve King of Iowa to name some.

In the letter, the lawmakers commend Trump for working “tirelessly to apply maximum pressure on North Korea to end its illicit weapons program and bring peace to the region.”

“His Administration successfully united the international community, including China, to impose one of the most international sanctions regimes in history,” which “have been largely credited for bringing North Korea to the negotiating table,” they said.

After roughly five hours of talks between Trump and Kim in Singapore on Tuesday, the two leaders emerged from the summit with an agreement that includes the “complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

“President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” read the preamble of the document, according to the New York Post.

The two countries also agreed to work toward “peace and prosperity,” a “stable peace” on the peninsula, to work “toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” and to commit to “recovering POW/MIA remains including the immediate reparations of those already identified.”

Trump acknowledged that denuclearization won’t happen overnight, but said, “Once you start the process it means it’s pretty much over.” (For more from the author of “President Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize by Norwegian Lawmakers” please click HERE)

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Shanghai Summit May Prove More Important Than the Trump-Kim Meeting

Overshadowed in the U.S. media by the Singapore meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the 2018 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit, held in Qingdoa, China on June 9–10, may have far greater strategic significance.

Established in 2001, the SCO is a Eurasian political, economic, and security organization, which now has eight member states; China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India. Aspiring member states include; Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Mongolia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

In his opening remarks, chairman of the meeting, Chinese President Xi Jinping offered several specific proposals reflecting China’s strategic objectives.

First, President Xi recommended that Eurasian countries focus on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) “to build a powerful engine to achieve common development and prosperity.” It is understandable why he would do so.

BRI is China’s blueprint for global dominance is a development plan: a program of infrastructure projects and a network of commercial agreements designed to link the world directly to the Chinese economy through inter-connected land-based and maritime routes. The area initially targeted by Beijing, Eurasia, represents two-thirds of the world’s population and one-half of the worldwide Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

BRI is soft power projection with an underlying hard power component: a comprehensive China-centered economic, financial and geopolitical web with far-reaching, cascading consequences affecting American national interests. It is not just resource acquisition or utilization of China’s industrial over-capacity, but its projects are specifically designed to ensure economic and, eventually, military dominance.

The linchpin of BRI is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the backbone of which is a transportation route that connects China to the Pakistani ports of Gwadar and Karachi on the Arabian Sea. It is why China’s “all-weather ally”, Pakistan, has been dutifully working to hasten U.S. exit from Afghanistan through its support of the Taliban and the Haqqani network, as well as maintaining Pakistan’s stranglehold on the supply of our troops to landlocked Afghanistan.

Second, in order to “facilitate peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan,” President Xi said, “we need to give full play to the role of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group,” which recently held a meeting in Beijing including Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. The SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group will likely become the vehicle to remove the U.S. from Afghanistan.

Third, President Xi emphasized the need “to expand partnership networks of international cooperation,” particularly “by engaging in dialogue with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and other international financial institutions.“

Not only was the IMF present at this year’s SCO Summit, but it was the first time the World Bank was seated with the inner circle of SCO members. In addition, China offered to extend its “debt trap” practice by announcing an additional $4.7 billion in potential loans through the SCO Inter-bank Consortium. No doubt additional cash will be needed by BRI countries like Pakistan, which devalued its currency for the third time since December and could explain the presence of the IMF and the World Bank at the SCO Summit. International financial institutions may provide supplementary monetary resources to support China’s global ambitions.

In contrast, it would be surprising if anything comparably significant arose from the Trump-Kim meeting in Singapore. Since before the Korean War, North Korea has had the same two objectives: survival of the regime and reunification of the Korean peninsula under North Korean rule. It is difficult to imagine any major U.S. proposal not ultimately contributing to the extinction of North Korea and the Kim dynasty.

Only time will tell, but the U.S. may again become the victim of North Korean subterfuge, while its mentor, China, quietly orchestrates a major strategic shift. (For more from the author of “Shanghai Summit May Prove More Important Than the Trump-Kim Meeting” please click HERE)

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D., is a retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel, an IT command and control subject matter expert, and a veteran of Afghanistan, northern Iraq and a humanitarian mission to West Africa. He receives email at [email protected].

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Trump Praises Relationship With Kim Jong Un, Makes History

By ABC News. President Donald Trump lavished praise on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after their historic four and a half hour face-to-face meeting in Singapore Tuesday, where the two signed an unspecified agreement that the president described as “pretty comprehensive.”

“A very worthy, smart negotiator, absolutely,” Trump told reporters while standing alongside Kim. “We learned a lot about each other and our countries.” . . .

“Today we had a historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind and we are about to sign a historic document,” Kim said. “The world will see a major change. I would like to express my gratitude to President Trump to make this meeting happen.”

“I feel really great,” Trump said. “We’re going to have a great discussion, I think, a tremendous success, this will be tremendously successful. It’s my honor and we will have a terrific relationship I have no doubt.” . . .

“It was not an easy path here,” Kim said. “There’s a history of holding onto our ankles, and it appeared there were times that there were unfortunate practices where they were trying to block our eyes and our ears, but we’ve overcome everything and come to this place.”

(Read more from “Trump Praises Relationship With Kim Jong Un, Makes History” HERE)

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U.S. Demands Japan Reduce Its Plutonium Stockpiles

By Nikkei Asian Review. The U.S. has called on Japan to reduce its high levels of stockpiled plutonium, a move that comes as the Trump administration seeks to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons, Nikkei has learned.

The request was made by the U.S. Department of State and National Security Council ahead of next month’s extension of a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement, according to people familiar with the matter.

Japan has about 47 tons of the radioactive element — enough to produce around 6,000 nuclear warheads. Foreign and domestic critics have pointed to these reserves as a ready source of bomb-making material should Japan choose to become a nuclear weapons state.

Plutonium production is banned in principle, but energy-poor Japan has been allowed to extract the material from spent nuclear fuel rods under the bilateral pact.

Japan insists that it does not maintain plutonium reserves “without specified purposes.” Critics in Japan and elsewhere, including China and some in the U.S. Congress, have expressed concern about the size of these stockpiles. (Read more from “U.S. Demands Japan Reduce Its Plutonium Stockpiles” HERE)

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Turkish President Predicts Holy ‘War’ Over Austrian Mosque Closures

By The Daily Caller. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan predicted “a war” between Christianity and Islam on Saturday after the Austrian government announced it will shut down seven Turkish nationalist mosques in Vienna and possibly expel up to 60 imams.

“You do this and we sit idle? It means we will take some steps too,” Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul.

“These measures taken by the Austrian chancellor are, I fear, leading the world towards a war between the cross and the crescent,” he continued, according to the German newspaper Die Welt.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s decision Friday to shut down several extremist mosques and to dissolve an organization called the Arab Religious Community angered Erdogan, an Islamist who considers the Muslim Brotherood an ally.

Kurz, a conservative who has espoused nationalist policies, made the decision after an investigation into two Turkish religious organizations, the Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations and Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, known as Diyanet. (Read more from “Turkish President Predicts Holy ‘War’ Over Austrian Mosque Closures” HERE)

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Turkey’s Erdogan Slams Austria’s Move to Shut Down Foreign-Funded Mosques

By DW. . .Reacting to the announcement, a spokesman for Erdogan said that Vienna’s move was “a reflection of the anti-Islam, racist and discriminatory populist wave in the country.”

Around 360,000 people of Turkish origin, including 117,000 Turkish nationals live in Austria. Ties between Ankara and Vienna have deteriorated in recent months with Kurz’s anti-immigration speeches and opposition to Turkey’s EU membership bid. . .

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced Friday his government was shutting down a hardline Turkish nationalist mosque in the capital, Vienna, and dissolving a group called the Arab Religious Community, which runs an additional six mosques.

The chancellor said the initiative followed an investigation into images that emerged in April of young boys wearing Turkish uniforms marching, saluting, playing dead and waving Turkish flags. The pictures were found to have come from the Cologne-based Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations (ATIB) organization, a branch of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet). (Read more from “Turkey’s Erdogan Slams Austria’s Move to Shut Down Foreign-Funded Mosques” HERE)

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France Bashes ‘Incoherent’ Trump for Withdrawing From G-7 Trade Agreement. Here’s What They Said.

By The Blaze. France released a statement on Sunday condemning President Donald Trump for withdrawing from a previously agreed-upon statement by all seven nations in the Group of Seven.

Trump announced the withdrawal on Saturday via Twitter after Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau said his country would move forward with retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. in response to tariffs Trump recently implemented. . .

In a statement, French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said all of Europe, which includes four of the G-7 nations, are standing in solidarity behind the communique agreed upon during last week’s G-7 summit in Canada.

“We spent two days to obtain a text and commitments. We will stand by them and anyone who would depart from them, once their back was turned, shows their incoherence and inconsistency,” the statement said, according to Politico EU, which quoted a French publication. (Read more from “France Bashes ‘Incoherent’ Trump for Withdrawing From G-7 Trade Agreement. Here’s What They Said.” HERE)

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Typhoon Trump Blows G7 off Course

By Politico. As host of this year’s G7 summit, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seemed to have just one over-arching goal: to get through the gathering without U.S. President Donald Trump blasting it to pieces. Trudeau succeeded — for all of about 90 minutes.

Just an hour and a half after Trudeau finished his concluding news conference, an irate Trump tweeted that he had “instructed our U.S. reps not to endorse the Communique” and threatened to impose tariffs on automobiles. He accused Trudeau of making “false statements” to the press.

Other G7 officials said Trump was too late. The communiqué was agreed, the summit done, the leaders packing up or already gone — like Trump himself, who tweeted his fury en route to Singapore to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Technically, the others may be right. But from a political perspective, Trump’s rant — and his proven willingness to tear up international agreements — effectively rendered the leaders’ joint declaration moot. (Read more from “Typhoon Trump Blows G7 off Course” HERE)

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Trump Has an Appetite for Seeing McDonald’s Come to North Korea

By Washington Examiner. . .A source told Axios that Trump is in favor of well-known American staples coming to North Korea, including McDonald’s, as he seeks to have the rogue nation open up to the world. Such cooperation hinges on a historic meeting Trump has planned for Tuesday in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un about denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. . .

Chung-in Moon, a special adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, told CNN International that the North is looking to become a “normal state” recognized by the U.S. and “welcome American sponsors and multilateral consortiums coming into North Korea.”

He mentioned McDonald’s, along with a Trump-branded building, as examples of what a “modern” North Korea would look like, according to Daily Mail.

Any such private American investments would require the U.S. to lift sanctions placed on North Korea. (Read more from “Trump Has an Appetite for Seeing Mcdonald’s Come to North Korea” HERE)

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Trump Kim Summit: North Korea Sets out Its Singapore Agenda

By BBC. North Korean state media has raised the possibility Pyongyang could “establish a new relationship” with the US.

It comes a day before North Korean leader Kim Jong-un holds historic talks with US President Donald Trump.

The comments are a marked shift in tone from the isolated country after decades of animosity towards the US.

Both leaders arrived in Singapore on Sunday evening. Mr Trump has said he has a “good feeling” about their much-anticipated summit.

He tweeted on Monday morning that there was “excitement in the air” in Singapore. (Read more from “Trump Kim Summit: North Korea Sets out Its Singapore Agenda” HERE)

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Bombshell: Iran Admits to Facilitating 9/11 Attacks

By Washington Free Beacon. Iranian officials, in a first, have admitted to facilitating the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. by secretly aiding the free travel of al Qaeda operatives who eventually went on to fly commercial airliners into the Twin Towers in New York City, according to new remarks from a senior Iranian official.

Mohammad-Javad Larijani, an international affairs assistant in the Iran’s judiciary, disclosed in Farsi-language remarks broadcast on Iran’s state-controlled television that Iranian intelligence officials secretly helped provide the al Qaeda attackers with passage and gave them refuge in the Islamic Republic, according to an English translation published by Al Arabiya.

“Our government agreed not to stamp the passports of some of them because they were on transit flights for two hours, and they were resuming their flights without having their passports stamped. However their movements were under the complete supervision of the Iranian intelligence,” Larijani was quoted as saying. . .

The U.S. government has long accused Iran of playing a role in the attacks and even fined the Islamic Republic billions as a result. The U.S. 9/11 Commission assembled to investigate the attacks concluded that Iran played a role in facilitating the al Qaeda terrorists.

Larijani admitted that Iranian officials did not stamp the passports of the al Qaeda militants in order to obfuscate their movements and prevent detection by foreign governments. Al Qaeda operative also were given safe refuge in Iran. (Read more from “Bombshell: Iran Admits to Facilitating 9/11 Attacks” HERE)

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Iran Faces New Threat as Kurdish Jihadis Join IS in Afghanistan

By Al-Monitor. A group of journalists had gathered at the site of a bomb blast in the center of Kabul, the Afghan capital, on the morning of April 30. Suddenly, a suicide bomber carrying a press card slipped past police and approached the journalists. As the bomb he was carrying went off, seven media workers died on the spot. Two more later died of their injuries, bringing the death toll of the two blasts to 26.

The Islamic State’s (IS) Afghanistan branch, known as Wilayat Khorasan, claimed responsibility for the attacks and released an image, dated April 29, of the two suicide bombers standing next to each other with their faces covered. One of them was identified by IS as Qaqa al-Kurdi. IS did not reveal where Kurdi came from, but for decades, both Iranian and Iraqi Kurds have been known to travel in large numbers to Afghanistan in pursuit of jihad. They have swelled the ranks of a number of groups over the years, and most recently IS.

Mukhtar Hooshmand, an expert on tracking the movement of Kurdish jihadis from Iran and Iraq, told Al-Monitor that he has identified Qaqa al-Kurdi as a 29-year-old man from Iran’s western Kermanshah province. The province has gained notoriety in recent years, as hundreds of young Kurds hailing from there and other Kurdish areas have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join IS and the jihadi group previously known as Jabhat al-Nusra (now called Jabhat Fatah al-Sham). Indeed, all of the IS suicide bombers who struck the Iranian parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran last summer hailed from Kermanshah province.

Following the IS attack in Tehran, Iran appears to have woken up to the jihadi threat and has arrested hundreds of Iranian Kurdish extremists. But as the IS project in Iraq and Syria is falling apart, Iranian Kurdish jihadis have changed direction and are now heading eastward instead to join Wilayat Khorasan, sources familiar with Sunni extremism in Iran’s Kurdish areas told Al-Monitor.

Iran sees western Afghanistan as a vulnerable spot that could be exploited by IS and hostile countries. As such, the Islamic Republic appears to have tried to fortify its defenses by allegedly propping up the Taliban to fight IS as well as NATO and Afghan forces stationed there. (Read more from “Iran Faces New Threat as Kurdish Jihadis Join IS in Afghanistan” HERE)

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Hey, Liberals, Is Canada Racist? Trudeau’s Government Tells Illegal Aliens Don’t Come Here

An onslaught of left-wing celebrities threatened to move to Canada during the 2016 presidential election if Donald J. Trump happened to ascend to the highest office in the land. Much of the liberal backlash against the future commander-in-chief stemmed from what some claimed was his “racist” anti-illegal immigration rhetoric. President Trump’s promise to secure America’s border was deemed nativist, isolationist, and just plain mean. Canada seemed like their only hope for tolerance. But, now Trump is president. His immigration policies are being enforced. And this has the Canadian government telling illegal aliens that are looking to venture to the Great White North, “Don’t come here illegally, folks. It’s against the law.”

Randy Boissonnault, a liberal member of Parliament and a special advisor to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, spoke to a variety of illegal immigrant groups in South Florida about what to expect should they choose to exit the United States and criminally enter into Canada.

While on what might as well have been a “Canada First” speaking tour, he said that it did not matter whether a family in Canada has been living there for “four centuries, four decades, four months or four minutes: A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian…Other than indigenous peoples…our country has been built on, and will continue to be built on, immigration…But if you cross the border illegally, you will be breaking the law. You will be apprehended. And after that, you will be in detention.” (emphasis added) . . .

In the past year, Canada has seen bursts of U.S.-based immigrants crossing illegally into Canada, mostly into the Quebec province that borders New York and other northeastern U.S. states.

In August, Royal Canadian Mounted Police caught more than 5,500 people trying to illegally cross from the U.S. Those were mostly Haitian immigrants who will soon lose Temporary Protected Status as part of the Trump administration’s phase-out of the TPS program that has protected more than 300,000 people from countries struck by war and natural disasters.

(Read more from “Hey, Liberals, Is Canada Racist? Trudeau’s Government Tells Illegal Aliens Don’t Come Here” HERE)

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