Social media corruption begun…

July 14, 2019

CBC News – Emily Haws
Ministers, MPs targeted by Facebook Messenger impersonation scam

The dreaded social media deceptions have begun.  “With only a few months to go until the federal election, at least three federal cabinet ministers and multiple other members of Parliament have seen their Facebook Messenger accounts mimicked by people offering to dole out government grants…Accounts associated with Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and Rural Economic Development Minister Bernadette Jordan have been targeted, their offices told CBC News.”  In some cases, the bogus messages invite those interested in federal grants to leave a deposit to open the application.  All of those impersonated are urging followers to be sure they following the right links.  Conservatives have also reported incidents, though without specifics.

Pew Research (US) – Gretchen Livingston, FactTank
On average, older adults spend over half their waking hours alone

One jumps already immediately to ask: what does such a research stat mean?  There is undoubtedly value in assessing isolation.  Estimated at about 7 hours a day for people over 60 and if living alone (1 in 4 older than 60) becomes about 10 hours a day; the length of the period decreases as age is lowered.  While slow to interpret the stat, the isolation can be a factor in a number of social and health conditions.  There may also be link between the isolation and growing housing solution involving pairing of older home owners with younger live-ins reported as a solution to shortage and cost of housing.

CBC News – Nicole Brockbank
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan invests in company that runs controversial U.S. migrant detention centres

Following disclosures and reversals on the CPP pension plan investment in the US private prisons and immigration detention plans, no one should be surprised to learn that the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund and the Alberta government have similar investments.  “Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), which manages many public sector pensions and other government funds, has shares in both GEO Group and CoreCivic worth a total of about $4.8 million, as of March 31, according to its filings.”  Both investors are committed to socially responsible investments.

CBC News (NB) – Karissa Donkin and Connell Smith
Death of sick inmate at Saint John jail ‘a pretty significant failure,’ ombud says

According to the Ombudsman, this inmate death was “a pretty significant failure” in due care with information about the death secretive until forced in the open.  37-year-old Jeffrey Ryan was dead when checked by St. John Regional Correctional Centre guards in 2011, even though he had already been identified as a heroin addict forced to go cold turkey.  No one was held responsible for the failure to make physical checks every 15 minutes as policy required.  The death raises questions about the failure of prisons to adequately deal and supply the inmates prescribed medications.  The coroner’s report on the death is still not available to the public.

CBC News – Pete Evans
Illegal cannabis getting even cheaper, as legal gets costlier, StatsCan says – Gap between legal and illegal varieties as wide as $4.72 per gram, on average

So, why would you pay more for your personal joints, recreational or medical?  The answer appears that you would use the illegal source rather than the licensed source.  The controversy is bathed in supply – demand problems as well.  Legalized last October, the roll out of legal marijuana has been anything but smooth.  The price differential between the legal (not counting the HST) and illegal sources is growing, not diminishing.

World Economic Forum – (Davos)
Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2019

As the environmental concerns become more focused for the Canadian federal elections and the provincial resistance to the federal carbon plan more pronounced, technology often becomes the suggested redeemer response to the deteriorating conditions.  Here is the assessment of the most critical technological developments for 2019, and perhaps a realistic look at what technology can in fact do.  “Technologies that are emerging today will soon be shaping the world tomorrow and well into the future – with impacts to economies and to society at large. Now that we are well into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it’s critical that we discuss and ensure that humanity is served by these new innovations so that we can continue to prosper,” said Mariette DiChristina, Editor-in-Chief of Scientific American, and chair of the Emerging Technologies Steering Committee.   Related article:  CBC News – Aaron Wherry     Premiers say they want a ‘co-operative’ approach to climate policy. Are they serious?   Related article: CBC News – Emily Chung Fighting climate change may be cheaper and more beneficial than we think

The New Yorker – Felix St. Croix

What Do People in Solitary Confinement Want to See?

Here’s a different view of the impact of solitary confinement coming from a former supermax in Illinois, now closed, where about 500 of its 700 capacity were designated solitary cells.  Advocates surveyed the solitary inmates about what sights they would most like to see if they could.  The idea came from a poetry committee and resulted in an array of photos meant to fulfill the wish as expressed by the sensory deprived inmates, including an a cappella version of Amazing Grace.

CBC News –
National Police Federation wins right to represent Mounties in collective bargaining

Long denied the right to unionize, the members of the RCMP are now free to unionize and the National Police Federation has “filed an application for certification at the Federal Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board (FPSLREB) in April 2018.”  The eligible RCMP members voted 97% to pursue the union, after a stormy and prolonged period of administrative relations.

CBC News
Border officials to start sharing data about U.S., Canadian travellers

“National security overreach” is one of the potential failures of Bill C-21 which allows sharing between the US and Canada border and customs information collected from people crossing either way at the borders – land, air and sea.  Since 2012 the two countries have shared data on legal residents from third party countries but now US and Canadian citizens will be subject to the scrutiny.  “Len Saunders, a U.S. immigration attorney based in Blaine, Washington, says while it’s too late to change the law, Canadians should be wary about how their information is being shared… “This is basically a slippery slope here,” Saunders said. “I don’t think that’s any of the Americans’ business … And where does it stop? What other kind of information are they in the future going to allow the Americans to access?”