Greetings to thousands of readers the past month from the United States and Canada, as well as the United Kingdom, Russia, India, Germany, France, Japan and Latvia.

Total Pageviews

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Cyberattack concerns caused Canadian officials to react, plan

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 25/16

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The threat of a major cyberattack on the electrical grid and telecommunications systems in Canada has government officials planning with critical infrastructure operators.
   An internal document said “insiders” could unleash devastating viruses and cripple systems.
   This has officials consulting with operators of electrical grids, transportation hubs and other key infrastructure facilities.
   The briefing notes for Public Safety Canada, obtained by the Canadian Press newswire under the Access to Information Act, said the “insider threat is difficult to detect and can cause real damage.”
   Rogue employees, state-sponsored hackers, sophisticated criminals, “cause-motivated hacktivists” and people out to make mischief online all pose a threat, the document warns.
   No special hacking skills are required to wreak digital havoc, just a portable memory key loaded with a malicious code, it said.
   The document was prepared for Monik Beauregard, a senior assistant deputy minister at Public Safety Canada, who chaired a panel on Friday at an intelligence conference on the global implications of the challenges to cybersecurity.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Give the integration of foreigners into Canadian society some time, prime minister says

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 18/16

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The integration of foreigners, including Muslims, into Canadian society is nothing new and will take some time, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says.
   Since last November, Canada has “resettled” 30,647 Syrian refugees and more continue to arrive.
   Trudeau told a conference in Montreal, hosted by the “progressive think-tank” Canada 2020, that being fearful of immigrants is “nothing new” here or around the world.
   There were similar circumstances when the Italians and Greeks settled in Montreal in the 1950s and they faced “tremendous” discrimination and distrust, Trudeau said.
   Canadians shouldn’t be “overly impatient” with integrating newcomers as the “first generation is always going to have challenges,” Trudeau said.
   In a panel discussion, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Canada is a “beacon of how a civilized G7 country should treat those who are vulnerable and need help.”
   He praised Trudeau for his “progressive” politics and said his election last October inspired him.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Emergency repairs ordered for Ambassador Bridge on Canada-U.S. border

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 11/16

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The crumbling infrastructure of the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-U.S. border has prompted the Canadian government to order emergency repairs.
   Documents show Transport Canada has had concerns about the structural integrity of the privately owned bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario and Detroit– the busiest border crossing in North America – for some time.
   Transport Minister Marc Garneau has called on the bridge company owned by Manuel Moroun of Grosse Pointe, Mich. to do everything possible to speed up repairs.
   An engineering firm two years ago inspected the 86-year-old suspension bridge over the Detroit River and recommended the Canadian side be thoroughly rehabilitated or replaced.
   “The safety of the Ambassador Bridge is of critical importance,” Garneau said, adding: “Should action not be taken in a timely manner, I will not hesitate to take additional safety measures.”
   The 1,850-foot bridge carries about 10,000 trucks and 4,000 automobiles a day between the two countries.
   Politicians from both countries turned down Moroun’s proposal to build a second span on the bridge and will instead construct a new nearby structure to be called the Gordie Howe International Bridge.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Tentative pact averts Canadian postal strike

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 4/16

   (c) By Jim Fox

   A two-year tentative agreement that averts the threat of a nationwide postal strike does little but put off the inevitable, businesses leaders warn.
   Canada Post and its 51,000 workers have agreed to a “peace treaty” that ends nine months of negotiations and assures businesses that the mail will go through – for now.
   The government agency said the demands of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers were too rich at a time of reduced mail volumes, pension shortfalls and an estimated $8 billion solvency deficit.
   As well, the post office will have to confront lost business and a government review of its operations, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said.
   The deal, while putting off some of the major issues for two years, “will be a relief for a lot of small business owners,” said federation president Dan Kelly.
   The threat of a strike forced them to look at alternatives in advance, he added.
   A special mediator appointed by the government helped both sides reach the agreement that calls for an independent body to study the major issue of pay equity between city and rural letter carriers.