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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cyberattack on Canadian government websites claimed by Anonymous

   Canada column for Sunday, June 21/15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said no personal information was compromised by a cyberattack on several government websites.
   The Anonymous hacker group claimed responsibility for the attack on the Canadian computer servers to protest against the approval of an anti-terrorism bill.
   In a YouTube video, Anonymous said it “launched an attack against the Canadian Senate and Government of Canada websites in protest against the recent passing of bill C-51.”
   Among the sites disabled were the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Shared Services (the super IT department), Justice, Public Works and Government Services.
   Last year, the National Research Council site was hacked with the government blaming a “Chinese state-sponsored actor,” with Beijing denying involvement.
   Incidents against Finance Department and Treasury Board computer systems in 2010 were linked to efforts likely originating in China to gather information on the potential takeover of a Canadian potash company.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Russians shadow Canadian warship and prime minister

   Canada column for Sunday, June 14/15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Two Russian military ships shadowed a Canadian warship with Prime Minister Stephen Harper aboard in the Baltic Sea.
   The incident occurred as Harper and his wife, Laureen, spent 20 hours on HMCS Fredericton, a Canadian frigate that’s part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization mission.
   The exercise is to reassure Eastern Europe alliance members that they will be protected should Russian aggression in Ukraine spread.
   Canadian Defense Minister Jason Kenney pointed to the two Russian vessels in the distance that changed course as the Fredericton did.
   It’s not unusual for the Russians to monitor NATO exercises from a distance and they “kept a respectful distance and weren’t acting in a threatening way,” Kenney said.
   They came within seven nautical miles of the Canadian vessel and earlier a Russian helicopter flew along the port side of the ship.
   Harper told crew members that he is concerned about Russia and President Vladimir Putin.
   “Mr. Putin’s recklessness threatens global stability, regional stability and has spread fear among our Eastern allies,” he said.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New Democrats poised to do well in federal election in Canada: pollsters

   Canada column for Sunday, June 7/15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The New Democrats, Canada’s socialist political party, won the west in Alberta’s recent provincial election and could be poised to do well nationally in October.
   Five polls suggest that a tight, three-way race has developed nationally while a poll finds the New Democrats are dominating in mainly French-speaking Quebec.
   Pollsters suggest it’s a little early to define the possible outcome of the October federal election as Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives seek to remain the majority government.
   Unsettling for Harper and the Liberals is the New Democrats stunning victory resulting in Rachel Notley becoming premier and ending 44 years of Conservative rule in Alberta’s provincial election.
   This has boosted prospects of New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Tom Mulcair in recent opinion polls.
   “For those in denial about the rise of the NDP, we would suggest that they consider abandoning that skepticism,” said pollster Frank Graves of Ekos Research.
   The Alberta election victory “created goodwill for the party,” said Nik Nanos of Nanos Research, and Canadians who would consider voting NDP is at a 12-month high, tied with the Liberals.